The board of directors of the Somervell Central Appraisal District has announced the hiring of a new chief appraiser.

After several weeks of advertising the position and conducting interviews, the board unanimously selected Joseph Wesley “Wes” Rollen to take the helm of the local appraisal district during their May 30 meeting.

According to board chairman Ben Mieth, Rollen will begin his duties as chief appraiser on Monday, June 23.

“We extended an offer to Wes the week before and he accepted on Friday,” said Mieth, adding that the new chief appraiser was their choice among five applicants vying for the position.

Rollen, who comes to Somervell Central Appraisal District from neighboring Johnson County Central Appraisal District in Cleburne, was selected for his overall experience, said Mieth.

“The years of experience he has and experience in a similar area were important in our decision,” said Mieth, speaking on behalf of the board. “His ability to communicate and the experience working with the various entities during his time there were also appealing. Mr. Rollen was highly recommended from the attorneys that work with the local school district and from people he has worked with in Johnson County.”

Rollen has been with the Johnson County agency since 1995 and served as a Commercial and Business Personal Property (BPP) supervisor. He also oversaw the state property tax study for Johnson County and was the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practices coordinator for the neighboring appraisal district.

The new chief appraiser is a 1993 graduate of Tarleton State University and has held a Registered Professional Appraiser license with the Board of Tax Professional Examiners since June 2000. Rollen has also held professional membership with the Texas Association of Assessing Officers since 1995.

Currently serving as interim chief appraiser as a consultant to the local appraisal district is Jimmy Foreman, who was acquired by the board of directors on April 7 upon the resignation of former Somervell chief appraiser Duane Cox.

“He’s coming on board, so we’ve been trying to knock our heads together to see what his needs are to be able to do a good job,” said Foreman, who has already met with Rollen on several occasions. “I think the district has selected a great individual to be the new chief appraiser because he’s dealt with ratio studies for some time and is very familiar with the process.”

Mieth said Foreman will remain available to the appraisal district “as we need him” during the transition to a new chief appraiser.

“He (Foreman) has done a super job and we got all the notices out on time,” said Mieth, “and from where he picked up, they worked a lot of overtime and late nights so we could get them out.”

Mieth credits Foreman for getting the local appraisal district ready to bring a new chief appraiser on board and for assisting with the search process.

As the board prepares to welcome Rollen, Mieth said they haven’t set out any specific objectives other than to have the new chief appraiser focus on communicating with the taxpayers and local taxing entities.

“We look for him to do an honest job of evaluating all properties, but also communicate with all the taxpayers when they come in, and to be in the office and work alongside the rest of the staff,” said Mieth. “We’re ready to move forward and I think that the taxpayers can be confident of the appraisals and also of their willingness to listen and deal with any disagreements that they may have. We want the taxpayers to feel welcome and be treated with respect when they explain their valuations.”