San Bernardino County supervisors appoint new assessor-recorder – San Bernardino Sun

San Bernardino County has a new assessor-recorder: Christopher Wilhite, formerly the assistant assessor for the county.

The Board of Supervisors appointed Wilhite at its meeting Tuesday, Sept. 13.

“Thank you very much,” he said after being sworn in. “I didn’t prepare a speech, but I’ll do my best to serve the community and the people of San Bernardino.”

Christopher Wilhite, assistant appraiser for San Bernardino County, speaks to the Board of Supervisors on Sept. 13, 2022, about his desire to be appointed assessor-recorder to complete the term of Bob Dutton, who died in July. Wilhite was ultimately selected from a pool of five applicants to serve as assessor-recorder through the end of the year. (Photo courtesy of San Bernardino County)

Wilhite replaces Assessor-Recorder Bob Dutton, who died July 23 at age 71 after a battle with cancer. Dutton, the former state legislator and Rancho Cucamonga City Council member, had represented the Inland Empire in elected office for 24 years.

“We have to replace someone who was a true public servant, as well as a friend to all of us,” board Chairman Curt Hagman said before the supervisors interviewed the applicants.

According to a county news release, Wilhite is a veteran of the Assessor-Recorder-Clerk’s Office, and has served as lead appraiser and as a supervisor and manager in the office. For the past 22 years, he has served as the assistant assessor, the last eight of them under Dutton. Wilhite also has more than 36 years of appraisal and real estate-related experience as a private business owner.

In addition to Wilhite, four others sought appointment to the assessor’s seat: Dutton’s widow, Andrea Dutton; former Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales; Bradley Snowball, a supervising auditor-appraiser with the county; and Larry Walker, a former county auditor-controller.

In his application, Wilhite cited his close working relationship with Dutton and supervisors. On Tuesday he repeatedly stressed the continuity his appointment would provide.

“The consensus, I think, is to keep the trains going for the next three months,” Hagman said after the board heard from all five applicants.

Third District Supervisor Dawn Rowe agreed, citing her own learning curve after being appointed to the supervisor’s position in 2019.

“I believe the short term is best-served by the number two in the department,” she said. The assessor-recorder’s position is “a lot to learn in the short term.”

Tuesday was just the first of three times Dutton’s position will be filled.

Wilhite was appointed to serve the rest of Dutton’s current term, which runs through the end of the year.

Later this year, the supervisors will appoint someone to replace Dutton for the first two years of what would have been his next term, starting in January. Dutton ran unopposed in the June primary.

The assessor’s seat will be back on the November 2024 ballot. The winner of that special election will serve the remaining two years of what would have been Dutton’s third term.

In his application, Wilhite indicated he is interested in the longer-term appointment as well, but he does not plan to run in the 2024 election.

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