FLINT TWP. — By a vote of 5-2, the township board has hired Paula Dotson as its new deputy assessor.
Assessor William Fowler said that after an extensive search, internally and externally, Dotson was selected from four applicants. Two were from Genesee County and two from Oakland County. Dotson is currently the interim deputy assessor for the City of Flint where she has been on staff since 2006, he said.
Fowler, who also is the assessor for the City of Burton and the City of Flint said that hiring Dotson for Flint Township will mean losing her as his deputy in Flint.
She is a certified Michigan Advanced Assessing Officer, which is the same as the former level 3 classification, he said.
“She has shown through her current employment to be a very knowledgeable, very dedicated employee,’ Fowler said. “I think the township board and the community will find her to be a very strong asset.”
Dotson is expected to begin work on February 22.
Trustees Barb Vert and Belenda Parker voted against hiring Dotson.
Staffing the assessment department has been a point of contention among board trustees since a Feasibility Study conducted in 2012 suggested saving money by merging services with Swartz Creek and Mundy Township.
Vert and Parker have opposed recent assessment hires that were approved by the township board. Both have said they prefer implementing suggestions from the Feasibility Study to downsize the department.
Fowler said that many changes have been implemented from the study including reassigning duties and training clerical staff to perform work that freed up time for the professional staff to work out in the field including verifying records, looking at building and demolition permits and handling tax exemption applications.
Fowler also said that consolidating services with Swartz Creek and Mundy Township is not feasible. Swartz Creek currently contracts outside for its assessing services and Mundy Township’s assessor recently left to take a job in Ann Arbor, he said.
“They are in no position to provide any assistance to us,” he said. “And if we provided services to them, it would dilute services we provide to Flint Township.”
Parker asked if the base salary of $60,000 being offered to Dotson is more or the same as what the previous assessor earned. Fowler responded that it is less than the previous assessor earned and also means a pay cut for Dotson from her current job.
The department lost two longtime assessors in 2015. Nermina Vidovic, a level 4 township assessor and 12-year employee resigned in May and Ronna Gettel, assistant assessor, retired in December after more than 25 years of service.
Duties of the deputy assessor include working out in the field and running the office in Fowler’s absence, he said. Dotson will also concentrate on small claim appeals to the Michigan State Tax Tribunal while Fowler will focus on full tribunal appeals which has helped minimize the need for outside legal counsel, he said.