In a history-making moment, Tarrant Appraisal District swore in three newly elected at-large members to its board of directors on Monday, bringing the total number of directors on the board to nine for the first time.

The three new directors are Eric Morris, a former Haltom city council member; Callie Rigney, current Colleyville mayor pro tem; and Matt Bryant, a former Carroll ISD trustee.

The rest of the board comprises five directors appointed by the county’s taxing districts plus the elected county assessor-collector, who is not a voting member. Board members, with the exception of the tax assessor-collector, are not paid for their work.

The change in the board’s composition follows the passage of SB 2 in November. The new law stipulates that counties with a population greater than 75,000 must elect three members to the board of directors to represent the public’s interests, as reported by The Dallas Express.

“This is a big moment for you. You all worked very hard during your elections, and this is a historic thing,” County Judge Tim O’Hare said at the swearing-in ceremony for the three newly elected TAD board members, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

“Congratulations for being first and the first taking the oath of office,” Sheriff Bill Waybourn said after the board members were sworn in. “Like the old rangers used to say, you can’t stop a good person if they keep coming. So just keep coming, just keep doing the right thing.”

“Understand that this is a great honor that has been given to you, and public service is a great privilege to serve others. You are to serve others and not to be served yourself,” said Robert Pearl, senior pastor at Birchman Baptist Church.

Following Pearl’s comments, O’Hare spoke again to the newly-elected members, praising them for their selfless spirit in taking on the unpaid position.

“The fact that you are willing to serve the public and take these shots is admirable, is commendable, in a day and age where our national pastime seems to be criticism. We know what comes your way, but we thank you for serving and being willing to do it,” O’Hare said.

“Remember you represent the people, not the entity; always remember that,” he added.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, TAD has been plagued by various scandals over the past two years.

In August, TAD’s director of information systems was recorded saying that he was in favor of deceiving the public, a comment that led to his suspension.

O’Hare last year called for leadership change at TAD and the removal of TAD’s chief appraiser Jeff Law. Law ultimately resigned in September 2023.

TAD Chair Kathryn Wilemon resigned early last year after Keller City Council voted for her recall amid allegations of mismanagement, backroom dealing, and possible illegal activity.

The appraisal district was also the victim of a ransomware attack earlier this year. TAD held an emergency meeting in March, during which it was revealed that hackers were demanding $700,000 and claiming to have control over sensitive data.

Newly elected TAD board member Eric Morris told DX that the voters sent a message of change this past May.

“Voters sent a strong statement on May 4, and I’m very thankful for their support and confidence in me to serve on the board. Thank you to all those who attended our swearing-in ceremony on July 1. Now, the real work begins,” Morris said.