Irv Johnson: Hire the most-qualified candidate for assessor
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is one of a series of columns written by candidates in contested races in the Nov. 6 general election.
As a candidate for assessor, the Herald-Dispatch has allowed me to submit two articles for publication. I have decided to use my second submission to point out to readers some of the job requirements of the assessor, and I hope that by understanding what the assessor does, voters can make an educated decision on who is most qualified for this position.
According to the West Virginia Association of Counties, the assessor is responsible for assessing the value of property for the calculation of taxes and developing and maintaining tax maps and property records for public use. The assessor must oversee the office's budget, maintain the public information web site and coordinate the appraisals of thousands of pieces of property that must be appraised in a timely fashion.
This unique job description indicates that the assessor needs a multitude of real estate, management and financial skills, which, in Cabell County, also includes management of a staff of over 25 employees.
This should be treated as a job interview, and the candidate with the best qualifications for this particular position needs to be elected. In order to present the candidates in a non-biased way, below are the personal statements, education, and current occupations which were submitted to the Herald-Dispatch by both candidates:
Phyllis Kirtley Smith: Graduate of Milton High School. Attended Huntington School of Business. 67 CEU credits of Personal Law. 14 years of judicial training.
Irv Johnson: Marshall University Bachelor Degree 1988; Insurance Schools of WV; Allstate LRN; 58 CEU credits for WV State Licensing; Certified in Web Page Development; Huntington East High.
Current Office or Occupation :
Phyllis Kirtley Smith: Milton City Council, Hurricane City Judge, Hamlin City Judge, West Hamlin City Judge.
Irv Johnson: Business Owner (Johnson Photo Plus, Johnson Allstate Insurance, I&L Properties, LLC)
Phyllis Kirtley Smith: Over the past few years I've proudly served the citizens of Cabell County in various government positions. As assessor, my dedication to fairness, impartiality, and transparency will continue. My pledge to the citizens of Cabell County is to work diligently to provide fair and equal assessment to all.
Irv Johnson: I have operated Johnson Photo Plus in Cabell County for over 25 years. In April 2012 my family accepted an offer to sell JPP to a national company. This allows me to be 100% committed and focused on this full time position. I look forward to this opportunity and will lead by example in work ethic and attitude.
What special qualities or traits would make you a good assessor:
Phyllis Kirtley Smith: My previous work experience has provided a thorough knowledge and understanding of WV State Code. This knowledge is essential as all activities of the assessor are mandated. In addition to this knowledge, I require a level of professionalism that I truly feel the public expects and deserves.
Irv Johnson: 25+ years of management -- qualified to oversee the staff of nearly 30 employees.
12+ years owner/manager investment properties. 5+ years licensed insurance agent -- certified in property assessment.
25+ years dealing with the public in business situations.
Possess communication skills needed to connect with citizens from various backgrounds.
Thank you for taking the time to look at this job interview.
Please go vote in November and "hire" the most qualified "applicant" for the position of Cabell County Assessor.
Irv Johnson, a resident of Huntington, is the Republican candidate for Cabell County assessor.