Tarrant Appraisal District board members will meet in a special session Friday afternoon to discuss ongoing legal issues surrounding the embattled office. 

Board members first will seek legal advice in a closed session from the body’s attorney, Matt Tepper, on two separate subjects: the ongoing vacancy created by the recall and subsequent resignation of former chair Kathryn Wilemon, and future of chief appraiser Jeff Law’s employment. 

Wilemon’s absence has sparked a dispute between the Tarrant Appraisal District board and local government officials over who should choose her replacement. On March 10, the dispute escalated further, when local state Rep. Charlie Geren filed a bill to abolish the appraisal district entirely and place it under state control.  

Law’s tenure has fallen under similar scrutiny in recent years. As chief appraiser, he is the chief administrator and chief executive officer of the appraisal district. Law was suspended for two weeks in August for his handling of grievances between a local tax consultant and Director of Residential Appraisal Randy Armstrong. 

Board secretary Rich DeOtte was the lone no vote on suspending Law last year, but only because he instead wanted the chief appraiser fired. DeOtte is now operating as the presiding officer in Wilemon’s absence, and he called Friday’s special session. 

The agenda item does not specify what exact action, if any, will be taken in regards to Law’s employment. It lists “appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline, or dismissal of the chief appraiser” as possibilities. 

After the closed session, board members will reconvene and take possible action on both the vacancy and Law’s employment. They will also discuss the computer systems used by the appraisal district and take possible action on those systems, which have been riddled with problems for several years.

Emily Wolf is a government accountability reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at emily.wolf@fortworthreport.org or via TwitterAt the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Emily WolfGovernment Accountability Reporter

Emily Wolf is a local government accountability reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Originally from Round Rock, Texas, she spent several years at the University of Missouri-Columbia majoring in investigative...