Courtesy photo
Heather Drake discusses her qualifications for the assessor position with commissioners. She would later be chosen to replace Dorothy Fowler, who had submitted her resignation earlier.

In a letter to the “Mineral County Commissioners, Clerk-Treasurer, District Attorney & Others”, Mineral County Assessor Dorothy Fowler announced her resignation.

Her letter read, “I have served the people of Mineral County to the best of my ability for over 22 years. This past year has been quite difficult because of my ongoing medical condition; it has become more difficult to control the various side effects of the treatments. Therefore, in the best interest of the people of Mineral County I will resign my Assessor position effective January 25th, 2018.”

The commissioners were tasked with the duty of appointing a temporary assessor pursuant to Nevada Revised Statute 245.180.

That statute reads, “When, at any time, there shall be in the county offices, except the office of district judge, no officer duly authorized to execute the duties thereof, some suitable person may be temporarily appointed by the board of county commissioners to perform the duties of such offices, until they are filled by election or appointment, as provided by law.”

Candidate Spencer Zielinski introduced himself to the commissioners in reference to the position. He explained that he is interested in the position but does not have personal property appraisal credentials.

Clerk-Treasurer Chris Nepper explained to the commissioners that Zielinski could take the test the next time it is offered by the state.

Commissioner Garth Price questioned Clerk Nepper asking, “How do we operate in the meantime?”

Clerk Nepper could not answer that question but Commissioner Jerrie Tipton explained that they could contract that part of the position out.

She then when on to explain that this is only a temporary appointment until either election time or the appointment does not work out to the commissioners’ satisfaction.

Heather Drake from Carson City also expressed interest in the position. She stated that she has over 17 years of assessor experience and noted those accomplishments to the commissioners.

Kevin Chisulm who ran against Assessor Fowler in the last election spoke to the commissioners explaining that he feels that the office needs restructuring and brought up to speed so that whoever runs for the position will be able to walk into the office and be more productive.

Recorder-Auditor Christine Hoferer questioned the commissioners’ choice to use Nevada Revised Statute 245.180 stating that it contradicts statue 250 which covers county assessors. District Attorney Sean Rowe was not in attendance at this meeting.

After a short break, the commissioners confirmed that they may do a temporary appointment, know that “in 45 days we need to do a permanent appointment until the next election.”

Tipton said that the salary can only be determined off the base salary which is $62,102.

Cherrie George questioned the commissioners if after 45 days; will there be another temporary appointment? She questioned the assessor’s statute that the assessor must be a qualified elector of Mineral County.

Commissioner Garth Price made a motion to appoint Heather Drake, CAE RES after reviewing her resume for $62,102 which is $2,388 bi-weekly as the position of temporary Mineral County Assessor until further addressed by the board effective Jan. 29.

Price thanked Zielinski for coming to Mineral County for the interview.

The appointed assessor has a long history of history in that position. She worked for Clark County Assessor’s Office from 2000 until March of 2015, working her way up from property appraiser to manager property appraisal. Her resume states that as a manager in the appraisal division, she had direct oversight over approximately 60 employees.

She is comfortable with accomplishing departmental goals, working with the county and state Board’s of Equalization in assigning cases, attending hearings and testifying as well as coordinating with other offices and entities for budget analysis and projection purposes. She has worked with the State of Nevada Department of Taxation on such issues as auditing, centrally assessed properties, locally assessed properties, local government finance and boards and commissioners. She is owns her own consulting business where she works in property valuation and assessments.

Her letters of recommendation commend her on her work ethic and ability to teach those who need to learn about the field of appraisal.

She begins her appointment on Jan. 29.