WASHINGTON (Jan. 7, 2010) – A coalition representing 35,000 real estate appraisers, led by the Appraisal Institute, today called on the U.S. Department of the Interior to follow its own Inspector General’s direction to hire a chief appraiser.
The Appraisal Institute, the nation’s largest organization of real estate appraisers, was joined by the American Society of Appraisers, the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, and the National Association of Independent Fee Appraisers in asking Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to select a “strong and competent chief appraiser … to lead further change within ASD (Appraisal Services Directorate) and to provide a single point of contact, offer sound judgment and have final decision authority on appraisal matters,” as the Inspector General’s report said.
In a letter to Salazar, the four appraiser organizations wrote: “Our organizations believe appraisal issues are extremely complex, and the importance of the appraisal function must be elevated within the Department. It is critical for the appraisal function to be lead by a technically competent appraiser.”
The Inspector General’s report noted the chief appraiser vacated the position in 2006 and that it has not been filled by a fully qualified senior executive for nearly three years. “Unfortunately, this lack of consistent, competent, and empowered leadership remains to date as the Department decided not to proceed with the selection of a new ASD Chief Appraiser in June 2009,” the report stated. “Without the presence of a strong Chief Appraiser as lead, ASD cannot become a strong appraisal organization and cannot work to enforce policy directives …”
The New York Times reported this week: “The Interior Department office created to oversee billions of dollars of land appraisals is weak and undermined by other bureaus, leaving it unable to function efficiently, the Interior inspector general has found. … Over the past four years, Interiors appraisers have been responsible for the valuation of nearly 8 million acres of land worth almost $10 billion, the report says.”
To view the four appraiser organizations’ Jan. 7 letter to the Interior Department, click here.
To review the Inspector General’s Dec. 23 report, click here.
To read a Jan. 4 article in The New York Times about this issue, click here.
The Appraisal Institute is a global membership association of professional real estate appraisers, with 25,000 members and 91 chapters throughout the world. Its mission is to advance professionalism and ethics, global standards, methodologies, and practices through the professional development of property economics worldwide. Organized in 1932, the Appraisal Institute advocates equal opportunity and nondiscrimination in the appraisal profession and conducts its activities in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws. Members of the Appraisal Institute benefit from an array of professional education and advocacy programs, and may hold the prestigious MAI, SRPA and SRA designations. For more information regarding the Appraisal Institute, please visit www.appraisalinstitute.org.