BENTONVILLE -- Benton County Assessor Roderick Grieve, a Republican, faces a challenge from Rey Hernandez, the Democratic Party candidate and former justice of the peace, in the Nov. 6 general election.
With recent changes in state law, the assessor will serve a four-year term beginning in 2019. Benton County's assessor is paid $94,656 per year.
Roderick Grieve (R)
Residency: Has lived in Benton County since 1987.
Employment: Small business owner, private appraisal practice since 1997.
Education: Attended Arizona State University in Tempe.
Political Experience: Benton County assessor, first term.
Rey Hernandez (D)
Residency: Benton County resident for 29 years.
Employment: DSI Security at Northwest Health Systems and as security supervisor for Willow Creek Women’s Hospital.
Education: Bachelor of science degree in education from the University of Arkansas.
Political Experience: Benton County Quorum Court, 2013-2014.
Grieve points to his more than 30 years working in the Northwest Arkansas real estate market as an appraiser, a broker, a property manager and as county assessor for the past two years. He said his experiences in business and living in the area motivate him to seek public office.
"Benton County has been very good to me for the last 30 years," Grieve said. "I wanted to do some sort of public service as a way of repaying that. I want to build on what we're doing."
Hernandez said he, too, sees the office of county assessor as a public service and said he wants to bring new leadership to the position.
"I see the assessor's job as one that is an administrative position, someone who will be able to be an advocate for the Assessor's Office when it comes to budgeting with the Quorum Court. Right now, the leadership is the only thing I would change. Not to say the incumbent is not a good leader, but I think I have a different kind of leadership."
Hernandez said the assessor should be someone who can communicate with the public about the office and county government.
"I think the assessor's work should be more visible to the public," Hernandez said. "A lot of the people I talk to don't understand how the assessor's office works and how it affects the taxes they pay. People have questions about their assessment, and they don't understand how to question that. I think raising awareness of how the assessor works is very important."
Grieve said the Assessor's Office works under rules and regulations set by the state, limiting the flexibility of assessors. He said as an assessor he needs to be able to understand those rules and work to keep them current and relevant.
"We can't do anything about the state statutes, and there's very little we can do about the Assessment Coordination Division rules. But a lot of things are office policies they've put in place, sometimes in the 1980s, that are no longer relevant to what we do. If it's an office policy, we have to be able to look at it, see if we need to change it."
Both candidates agreed the Assessor's Office needs to use the latest technology to make the operations efficient and responsive to residents.
NW News on 10/11/2018
Print Headline: County Assessor hopefuls tout experience, leadership