No pick for assessor; Bradshaw for surveyor

Choosing between candidates for professional positions requiring technical training such as county assessor and county surveyor isn't easy for many voters. That's one reason county officials asked voters to make those positions, along with the county clerk, appointed rather than elected.

But voters said no, and now they face those choices again.

The two candidates for county assessor are likeable, qualified and sincere in their desire to do a good job for county taxpayers. Voters wouldn't go wrong selecting either Josh Gibson or Roy Wright, which is perhaps why the Mail Tribune Editorial Board couldn't agree on the best choice, and makes no recommendation in the race.

Wright, 71, has been an appraiser in private practice for many years in the valley, and at one time worked as an appraiser in the assessor's office. He ran in 2008 against then Assessor Dan Ross.

Ross abruptly resigned in September, citing a hostile work environment.

County commissioners appointed Josh Gibson, 33, an employee of the assessor's office for eight years, to replace Ross, and Gibson is now seeking election to a full term.

Both men say the office needs to improve how it values property and how staff members are trained, and both pledge to issue fair, accurate appraisals of property.

Wright has a clear edge in years of experience evaluating property, as he began doing it about the time Gibson was born. He does not have experience managing an office of 30 employees.

Gibson has the edge when it comes to knowledge of state law and how it affects government determinations of property value. His management experience is not extensive either, but he does understand how the assessor's office functions and has clear ideas of what he wants to change.

We believe either Roy Wright or Josh Gibson will do a good job as county assessor.

The job of surveyor is just as technical as that of assessor, and also affects private property — determining exactly where it is rather than how much it's worth.

Kerry Bradshaw has been the surveyor since being elected in 2008. He's by all accounts a qualified surveyor.

Herb Farber, his challenger, is another experienced surveyor. He says he has no complaints about how Bradshaw is doing the job.

The surveyor's task is to determine the correct location of property lines that divide one parcel from the next. When new construction is booming, it can be a hectic job. When activity is slower, the surveyor and his three employees work on updating the backlog of "corners" — the thousands of precise reference points scattered across the county that in turn determine the location of every piece of property.

Both Bradshaw and Farber are qualified, and both have a record of community service in a variety of capacities. Without a compelling reason to make a change, we recommend voters re-elect Kerry Bradshaw as county surveyor.

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