San Bernardino County supervisors appoint Christopher Wilhite assessor for next 2 years – San Bernardino Sun

San Bernardino County has a new assessor-recorder — again.

At its meeting Tuesday, Dec. 6, the Board of Supervisors appointed Christopher Wilhite, assistant assessor for the county, to replace Assessor-Recorder Bob Dutton, who died July 23 at age 71 after a battle with cancer.

Dutton, a former state legislator and Rancho Cucamonga City Council member, had represented the Inland Empire in elected office for 24 years.

The appointment Tuesday was the second time supervisors have tapped Wilhite for the assessor’s role. On Sept. 13, the board appointed him to finish the remainder of Dutton’s current term, which ends Jan. 2.

“It’s been an honor,” Wilhite said before the supervisors voted Tuesday. “I understand the responsibility (of the assessor’s role) and I’m still stepping up.”

Tuesday’s appointment was to replace Dutton for the first two years of what would have been his next term, starting on Jan. 3. Dutton ran unopposed in the June primary before his death.

In addition to Wilhite, the supervisors interviewed the following candidates for the position prior to making their decision:

  • Josie Gonzales, former Fifth District supervisor
  • Ryan Hutchison, Rancho Cucamonga council member
  • Bradley Snowball, a supervising auditor-appraiser with the county
Sign up for The Localist, our daily email newsletter with handpicked stories relevant to where you live. Subscribe here.

Snowball, who said he does not intend to run for assessor in 2024, said putting forth his name for an interim appointment was an act of service.

“I’m not looking for glory,” he said. “I just want to say thank you to the residents and businesses of San Bernardino County for providing me with a job for 28 years.”

Gonzales said she’d like to see the assessor take a more active role in the county’s economy.

“Having been a supervisor, and having sat where you sit now, that experience can only enable and embolden what needs to happen,” she told supervisors, adding that she plans to make a bid for the assessor’s seat in 2024.

Hutchison said he was eager for the job and excited about the possibilities.

“I learned that being elected didn’t just mean obtaining power, but earning it,” he said, adding “I will work my butt off” in the assessor’s role.

Hutchison said he could imagine the day when county legal records were part of the blockchain — an online permanent digital record, currently mostly associated with cryptocurrency — making them both easier to access but theoretically impossible to falsify or secretly modify.

Wilhite was the quietest of the candidates interviewed on Tuesday, but said, should he be reappointed, he’d focus on filling vacancies in the department that he partially blamed on the coronavirus pandemic, continuing the office’s technology upgrades and monitoring how rising interest rates are affecting the local housing market.

Two of the five candidates interviewed for the assessor’s position in September — Andrea Dutton, Dutton’s widow, and former county auditor-controller Larry Walker — were not interviewed Tuesday.

“We have four strong candidates here. I don’t think it’s possible to make a wrong choice,” board Chairman Curt Hagman said after the interviews.

The board was torn between wanting an experienced hand in charge at the assessor’s office and wanting someone who had to win the support of the voters.

“I have been impressed with what Mr. Wilhite has done so far and would be comfortable with him continuing for another two years,” said Second District Supervisor Janice Rutherford, adding she was also “incredibly impressed” by Ryan Hutchison.

Those thoughts were echoed by Fifth District Supervisor Joe Baca Jr.

“I think the most important thing we have to look at is who can come in and fulfill the duties for these next two years,” he said. Baca favored Wilhite and hoped the new assessor would appoint Hutchison to the assistant assessor’s position.

In the end, the board voted 5-0 to appoint Wilhite to the assessor’s seat for another two years.

“Chris, I guess you’ve got the job for another two years,” Hagman said.

On Nov. 5, 2024, San Bernardino County voters will again get a say in who will serve as assessor. The position will be listed on the November 2024 ballot, and the winner of that special election will serve the remaining two years — from Jan. 6, 2025, through Jan. 4, 2027 — of what would have been Dutton’s third term.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *