The drama at TAD has been pretty wild. A lot has been happening, but I haven't talked about it much.
As a taxpayer, it's frustrating that we can't hold TAD accountable for their actions directly. We don't get to vote on who is elected to the board of directors at TAD.
Thankfully, the Keller City Council is stepping up by discussing the possibility of recalling the chairwoman of the TAD board of directors at its meeting on Tuesday night (2/21/23). This is a big move toward cleaning up the mess at TAD, which will benefit everyone in Tarrant county.
I made this quick video to explain what led to this decision:
In order to have a productive appraisal district, we need to have a functioning board of directors with a chairperson who addresses problems head-on instead of ignoring them and hoping they go away.
Here is a list of examples of how the chairwoman has mishandled serious issues during her tenure:
- The Chairwoman defended paying a TAD attorney over $32,000 per month [as reported here about this board meeting 2:26:00]
- The Chairwoman was given the responsibility of heading a subcommittee that would review Board Policy and handle matters concerning Boardroom audio. However, she only held one telephone meeting during which she proposed buying new equipment and reducing the time allocated for public comments from 5 to 3 minutes. She did not take any steps to address Board Policy. This behavior suggests that she is hesitant to listen to public input.
- At the Nov. 11, 2022, board meeting, TAD board member Rich Deotte (good guy) revealed that TAD was attempting to keep an investigative report from becoming public. He said that the report revealed criminal violations were committed by TAD personnel and that the public deserved to know about the details. The chairwoman did not want to discuss whether or not the report should be released. [See video here]
- In the same November board meeting, the Chairwoman admitted to breaking TAD board policy by changing the agenda behind closed doors to avoid discussing issues. [See the video & transcript here]
- The Chairwoman wanted to approve a large legal firm’s contract in excess of $1 million, while the TAD staff recommended another firm for $300,000, as [reported here]
- The Chairwoman voted against authorizing an outside audit of TAD and its software after then-state Senator Jane Nelson formally requested the board to investigate why the number of protests had drastically spiked at TAD. [See the article here].
- The Chairwoman defended errors made by the chief appraiser in his handling of the situation where a TAD employee was caught filming up the skirt of a female tax agent. [See article here]
- The Chairwoman avoided getting additional information when notified at the May 13th board meeting and again at the June 10th board meeting that a top-level TAD executive made fraudulent TDLR complaints in TAD's name. Getting additional info may have avoided months of trouble and bad PR. [See this video of the June 10 board meeting here]
- On June 30, 2022, the Chairwoman presided over a public TAD board meeting containing open meetings act violations. The agenda was revised intentionally to delay the public comments portion of the meeting while TAD locked out over 300 people standing outside in near triple-digit heat for several hours failing to allow people to use the restroom or make accommodations for the handicapped and the elderly [See the article and video here]
- The Chairwoman initially agreed the chief appraiser would investigate himself regarding the handling of the TDLR complaints. After public pressure, the TAD board hired its own attorney to investigate. [See article here]
- In August 2022, the Chairwoman did not initially include the TDLR complaint on the board’s agenda, as promised, until another public outcry. [See article here]
- After receiving notice that the TDLR investigation concluded, stating there was no evidence of a violation, no attempt was made to state how the merits of the complaint were wrong. [See article here]
Some CAD board members will justify their inaction by saying that the tax code limits their authority.
Section 6.05(h) of the tax code expands the board's authority by enabling the board to mandate board approval for virtually any action.
If Keller votes to recall, then TAD will escalate the issue to include additional tax entities (including the Commissioners Court) for a final vote.