Philly hunting for new chief property assessor

City Council President Darrell Clarke (center) at a ribbon cutting event. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

City Council President Darrell Clarke (center) at a ribbon cutting event. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

The city of Philadelphia is hiring a new chief assessment officer.

The posting was put on the city’s hiring website Tuesday and whoever gets picked will step into an office in the middle of controversy.

Mayor Jim Kenney says he’s looking for a new assessment chief because current property assessments have been off target by 15 percent in large swaths of the city, according to recent reviews.

“It’s a consensus of Council to go in a different direction relative to that position and try to follow some of the recommendations made in the report by the council,” Kenney said.

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Council President Darrell Clarke says with all the inaccurate assessments, there needs to be more uniformity and a new outlook from a fresh pair of eyes.

He says replacing the chief assessment officer is just a start.

“There are a couple of other things we would like to see — adding three deputies, one a deputy for residential properties, one for commercial properties and a deputy to do the analysis of the function of the office,” Clarke said.

Mayor Kenney says his office is doing what it can to cooperate with Council on the analysis of the assessment office.

Council has final say on the matter, so when it refused to re-approve the current head of the Office of Property assessment, Mayor Kenney had little choice but to open a search.

Kenney says the city has been slowing down its assessment process until a new leader for the office is appointed.

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