Commissioner Challenges County’s Tax Office


Dallas County Tax Office | Image by FOX 4

Tensions have peaked as a member of the Dallas County Commissioner’s Court challenged the county’s tax office.

Commissioner John Wiley Price admonished Tax Assessor-Collector John Ames, accusing him of improperly managing his office during the court’s last meeting on January 24.

The point of contention centered around workforce issues and hours of operation for tax offices.

Price noted that other departments, such as Health and Human Services and the sheriff’s department, remain open to the public, while this is the only office that gets closed to the public.

“We don’t close anything else. So, why are we closing the tax office with 28 individual, full-time equivalents not there,” said Price at the meeting.

Ames said that 50% of their frontline staff have been in operation for less than a year and that the offices were attempting to manage workload, creating a “rolling closures” system for all seven offices to ensure that when one office is closed, another remains open.

“There is not one office that is open all the time and not one office that is closed all the time,” said Ames.

Ames and Price then engaged in a back-and-forth about the logistics and distances between adjacent locations that were open or closed, to which Ames responded that he did not have that information.

“Is that because you don’t care?” asked Price.

“No, sir,” responded Ames. “Does anybody on this court believe that, as the Dallas County tax assessor-collector, that I don’t care?”

“I do. I do,” said Price.

Price continued to say that his concern was for the South Dallas government center, to which Ames responded that his own concern was “every citizen in Dallas County, including South Dallas.”

Ames then restated that half of the 39 employees on his staff had worked with him for less than a year.

“So the efficiency of what those employees can do compared to an employee that’s been there for four or five years is a totally different thing,” said Ames.

Debate between the commissioner and Ames continued over the work done by the tax office. Ames noted that the employees had been backed up despite working through multiple holidays, continuing to defend the institution of rolling closures.

Price said that other departments, such as the sheriff’s department, remain open 24/7, working on weekends, and accused Ames of improperly managing his offices.

“It is unacceptable,” said Price.

Commissioner Elba Garcia said she has experienced issues similar to the tax office and was empathetic regarding workforce issues. Garcia praised Ames for his efforts.

“He has been very efficient and effective in all the practices that he has implemented,” claimed Garcia.

Commissioner Theresa Daniel also spoke in defense of Ames and the efforts of the tax offices to meet demands despite issues in staffing.

“What I see is our department, headed by Mr. Ames, is looking at every part of the process, looking at how he can be more efficient, looking at how he can do a better job of training people who do have that contact with people at the tax office,” said Daniel at the meeting.

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