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Assessor candidates tout experience, goals for the office

The Mail Tribune sent out questionnaires to the candidates for the Jackson County assessor's race in the May 17 primary. If no one gets 50 percent-plus-one or more of the votes cast, the top two vote getters go on to the general election in November. Their answers have been edited down for space considerations. 

David Anderson

Residence: Gold Hill

Occupation: Mechanic and former assistant hangar manager, Erickson Aviation

Education: Oregon property appraiser 3 certificate; more than 120 college credit hours in real estate law, manufacturing, business administration, etc.

Experience: Oversees 40-plus personnel at Erickson. Past positions include production manager at Schott Solar in Albuquerque, N.M.; agricultural/forest appraiser for Montana Department of Revenue; assessment administrator/assessor, Bernalillo County Assessors Office.

Management style: My management style is to work as a team builder. I recognize that I am not the single most knowledgeable in any given field. However, I do know how to identify those that are and work with them to build and achieve a common goal or directive.

Improvements? The office needs an impartial and competent audit performed on internal and procedural processes. I intend to allow input and advice from the Department of revenue, commissioners and the county administrator, councilors, taxing entities, media, residents and anyone else with concerns.

David Arrasmith

Residence: Central Point

Occupation: Deputy assessor, Jackson County Assessor's Office

Education: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, San Jose State University

Experience: Has been deputy assessor since 1985; currently team leader overseeing eight. Served as chairman of Medford Budget Committee, Rogue Valley Transportation District board and Supervisory Committee in charge of the annual audit for Rogue Federal Credit Union.

Management style: I would describe my management style as flexible, adjusting to the situation as it develops. I might be directive, authoritative, participative or coaching. I believe that good management requires observational skills that allow me to understand the personality of those I manage.

Improvements? I would improve on the office's networking with the public, especially in the area of personal property reporting. I would provide better instructions with more clear examples of items to report. ... I would improve on the office's networking with various public organizations to promote better communications and relationships with the community.

Ruth Staten

Residence: Medford

Occupation: Project/program director, Jackson County Assessor's Office

Education: More than two years college at Southern Oregon University and Brigham Young University; 75-plus hours real estate school; licensed property appraiser 3.

Experience: 16 years with Jackson County; responsible for certifying tax roll in preparation of levying taxes; bank operations officer overseeing 10; manager in Assessor's Office for four years.

Management style: My primary managerial style is democratic. I also believe it's important all positions work together well and cohesively.

Improvements? The office runs really well now. We have teams and leaders. To continue training and cross-training is important in all positions.

Angela Stuhr

Residence: Medford

Occupation: Deputy assessor, Jackson County Assessor's Office

Education: Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration, University of Iowa; coursework through Appraisal Institute, International Association of Assessing Officers, Oregon Department of Revenue

Experience: Has worked as mortgage processor, underwriter, real estate sales agent, commercial fee appraiser, project manager and residential and commercial appraiser for the county; manager overseeing $2.5 million construction project for Shenehon Co., Minneapolis.

Management style: I believe my managerial style is a combination of visionary and pacesetting. ... All staff should know the goals, and be able to see how their inputs, efforts, skills and talents can be best utilized to reach those goals. 

Improvements? Short-range goals include outreach and education for home and land owners, real estate and title company professionals and builders and developers. Long-range goals include working with other counties to find ways to manage data to achieve greater accuracy without greater staffing. A 10-year goal would be to convert data from accumulated trending to annual trending to match the practice of other Oregon counties and provide more accurate values for land and improvements.

Michael Wright

Residence: Medford

Occupation: Deputy assessor, Jackson County Assessor's Office

Education: Coursework at Southern Oregon University, Oregon Appraisal Certification and Licensure Board, Oregon Department of Revenue

Experience: More than 25 years experience in local housing market; state certified residential appraiser; property appraiser 3; past owner of real estate appraisal business

Management style: I look at myself as having a flexible managerial style that can change with the  task at hand. When looking at the department as a whole, I would acquire input from all sources to develop a plan of action. ... I think allowing staff to complete their work in this type of environment leads to increased harmony in the workplace, especially between staff and management.

Improvements? I have seen the office strive to improve technologically and streamline the appraisal process. I do see areas where there is complacency, and sometimes the attitude of 'this is how we do it' without the vision that there may be a better way. I think it is time for new leadership that has the vision to keep the assessor's office moving forward further in technology and streamlining the appraisal processes.