The nepotism doesn’t add up.

Today’s Dayton Daily News has a story about Sheriff Phil Plummer asking his sister to step down because of the ethical question of her making almost $600 a day as an “appraiser”

Kimberly Solomon was being paid $85 per appraisal where she was supposed to do the following:

Appraisers must view the house, take pictures, get inside if they can and then independently come up with an appraised value, which is then averaged and becomes the price upon which the minimum bid at sheriff’s auction is set, said Chief Deputy Mike Nolan.

Miraculously, she was able to do almost 6.5 of these per day! None of these appraisers had the qualifications that a bank would require for you or I to get a loan. And she wasn’t even the top producer! Of course, this is all “legal” because of some odd law that makes these “independent contractors” who are “hired” by the Sheriff but paid for by the banks and mortgage companies in the case. Seems rather odd?

Of course, this being an election year, both Dan Foley and Karl Keith are asking questions. Both Democrats – who are challenging the policies of a Republican Sheriff, just before election time. Mr. Keith has the audacity to ask for a change in law to “take away any question of patronage or any favoritism”while he may hold the record for patronage jobs in his office including Sam Braun (Mr. Nan Whaley). Read more about nepotism in Montgomery County in my post about it from Oct 2009- “The Monarchy of Montgomery County.”

Of course, we get the “tough talk” from Dan Foley now that the election is around the corner:

“My reaction about the sister is elected officials can’t have relatives working directly for them because it erodes the public trust,” said Montgomery County Commission President Dan Foley, a Democrat. “In the case of the sister, I think that the public is going to question that. Period.”

How has it taken 3 years on the Commission and many more in County Government for Dan to figure this out?

From the Dayton Daily:

A decades-old state law gives county sheriffs near total freedom to hire whoever they want to appraise properties for sheriff’s sale.

The law requires that the sheriff appoint “three disinterested freeholders, residents of the county” where the property to be sold is located. Other than that there are no requirements for training, licensing or previous experience in appraisal….

the practice has been controversial in recent years, with allegations of political patronage and dismay over the amount of money the appraisers earn as foreclosures hit record levels. Sheriffs in Butler, Hamilton, Lucas, and Cuyahoga counties have all come under fire in recent years.

The cost of the appraisals is inflated by the state’s requirement that three people appraise each house. The minimum per property fee for each appraiser is set by the local county court of common pleas and varies widely from county to county. In Montgomery County it is $85, but payments can be higher….

Nolan said the appraisers do 17 to 75 appraisals a week.

Although it is not required, Plummer mandates that all appraisers take an appraisal course. Two of the 11 appraisers used in 2009 are licensed Realtors, Nolan said. The others have no appraisal certification.

Plummer said he replaced two appraisers hired by Vore with two others because he wanted to have more expertise and more women.

He is also concerned that retired county employees who work as appraisers are “double-dippers” getting pensions and the appraiser payments.

The paper has a nice table showing the appraisers pay and cases handled. We now see yet another group of privileged vultures benefiting from the slaughter of the middle class by Wall Street bankers- thanks to the laziness of lawmakers.

Dan Foley, and every other person in the County building has been asleep at the wheel allowing this nepotism to continue.

How can an appraiser do a proper job in about an hour? And how do they make what an average family of four is living on in a week in a day- and call it OK?

These “appraisers” are making more than the commissioners- and most of the employees in the County building. But of course, more than half donate to the campaign funds.

It’s time for a housecleaning- because this nepotism just doesn’t add up.

We decided to talk about this in the Dayton Grassroots Daily Show after the initial post was up.

Note, it’s been passed on to me that Sheriff Plummer also hired one of his high school buddies. Make sure you read the comments- a real appraiser weighs in.

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