O’Connor and Associates has long been addressing the issue of grossly biased appraisal review boards. The problem stems from the perception of appraisal review board members that since they are paid by the appraisal district, they need to be loyal to the appraisal district in making decisions. The statutes and their own requires that they be impartial. Further, the statutes require that the appraisal district must there position based upon a preponderance of the evidence.

Further, starting in 2013 there are requirements that the appraisal district prove their position based upon a standard of clear and convincing evidence. This will be even more difficult for the appraisal districts to meet.

O’Connor Associates has long been communicating our concerns with the management of appraisal districts and the senior management of the appraisal review boards. Typically, they had not been sympathetic.

O’Connor and Associates has also attempted to cooperate with parties who are legislatively active in promoting statutes favorable to an independent appraisal review board. The changes passed in 2013 should make substantial progress in promoting an impartial appraisal review board.

2013 changes to the statutes require annual training for appraisal review board members, provided that appraisal review board members may be terminated based on clear and convincing evidence of repeated bias, and provide that the administrative District Court law judge is responsible for selecting appraisal review board members in counties with a population of at least 120,000, and prohibit communications between the appraisal district and the administrative District Court law judge regarding which appraisal review board members shall be appointed.

The statute also allows that the administrative District Court law judge can appoint appraisal review board commissioners to select the appraisal review board members. Due to the responsibilities of the District Court administrative law judge, we believe that appointing appraisal district commissioners will lead to a better and more impartial appraisal review board.