The legislature checking the process for choosing appraisal review board members in Pierce County and Fort Bend County in 2009. Instead of having the appraisal district Board of Directors selected the appraisal review board members, the responsibility was delegated to the district court administrative law judge in the county.

A flaw with this process was that the District Court law judge is quite busy. In addition to running a normal work, the administrative District Court law judge also handles administrative duties for supervising all of the District Court’s.

In practice, what typically happen was that a member of the appraisal district will compile and send the administrative District Court law judge a list of appraisal review board members they believed were favorable from the appraisal district perspective. As can be expected based on human nature, these would be appraisal review board members who were favorable to the appraisal district.

The change in 2013 prohibits communications between the administrative District Court law judge and both staff with the appraisal district and property tax consultants were very limited exceptions. This is an excellent change since the administrative District Court law judge will be making decisions based on objective factual data instead of affirming appraisal review board members proposed by the appraisal district.

The District Court law judge can also point appraisal review for commissioners to review resumes and select the appraisal review board members for the county. We strongly believe this is the best option because of the duties already pressing upon the time available to the administrative District Court law judge.