June is Travel Month in the lame duck Knox Co Property Assessor’s Office and the Cost Exceeds $7,500

Through an open records request back on April 26, 2016 we reported this about three Knox County Property Assessor employees going to a Florida beach town for “training and certification”. Through multiple sources I discovered that the Assessors Office had not fully complied with the open records request, I renewed my request.

Here is what was discovered.

June 6, 2016  Assessor employees Warren Wiser and Roger Ownby will travel to Fredricksburg, Va attending Advanced Assessors School taking course 201 Appraisal of land, at the University of Mary Washington – Stafford Campus The school fee is $525 each and hotel accommodations appear to be listed, no pre payment appears to have been paid yet. $1,050 has been paid. Accommodations, Transportation and meals have not been calculated.

June 7 – 10, 2016 Public Information Officer of the Assessors Office, Former Black Wednesday County Commissioner and Former Appointed Knox Co Trustee  Craig Leuthold is going to Auburn, Al and Auburn University. The IAAO 553 course cost is $375 and the hotel is $369.51 for a total of $744.51. Meals and transportation are not included in what has been paid.

June 12 – 17, 2016 Sean Kitts will attend IAAO Course 601 Cadastral Mapping – Methods & Applications in Mt. Juliet, TN The course cost is $355. A single hotel room is reserved, but no pre-payment has been made. No transportation or meals have been calculated.

June 12 – 17, 2016 Employees Warren Wiser, Gary Jones, Mark Kidd and Nikki Davis are going to Indianapolis, IN attending Fundamentals of Mass Appraisal. The course fee is $380 each for a total of $1,520 There are three room reservations, two individuals are sharing a room. The hotel expected accommodations are expected to be $1,605. Transportation and meals has not been calculated.

June 14 – 17, 2016 Employees Richard Fowler and Douglas P. Russell attending 5 hours of Focus on the Workfile No. 048, 8 hours Fannie Mae/ANSI Update, No. 139 8 hours FHA SFR Appraising – Handbook 4000.1, No. 154 and 7 hours 2016-17 7-hour National USPAP Update, No 101 in Nashville, TN The course cost is $479 each Total cost $958  Hotel rate of $109 for three nights is $327. It does not indicate if they are sharing the room or single. No transportation, meals is calculated.

The most interesting tidbit from the open records is that Fowler and Russell’s confirmations were emailed to a russellappraisalservices email address. A google search has located this screen shot.

Is a private appraisal company benefiting from a county property assessor job and training?

Is a private appraisal company benefiting from a county property assessor job and training?


 June 26 – July 1, 2016 Employees Nikki Davis, Mark Kidd and Gary Jones are traveling to Mt. Juliet, TN to take IAAO Course 102 Income Approach to Valuation. There will be two rooms for 5 nights, one single room, one double room. No reservations are in the open records. The course fee is $355 each for a total $1,065. No accommodations, transportation or meals have been calculated.

So far, according to the open records $7,669.51 has been spent with an additional $327 possible for an extra room in Nashville on the Fowler/Russell trip. Of course, travel, meals and any accommodations not prepaid will be reimbursed. All this by a lame duck Property Assessor that leaves office on August 31, 2016 and it is not clear if any of these employees will be retained by the new Assessor John R. Whitehead on September 1, 2016.



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1 Response

  1. George Walters says:

    This isn’t all the “travel and education” from this office. All those trips to the recreational facility minus spouses. I will be glad to see a turn around to the office if it’s possible. It has been ran like this for years, the best kept secret in the building known by all. When Johnny discovers the truth I would hope he would make it public. To me that’s a qualification of a true leader.