Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Property Appraiser: Dana Blickley

Dana Blickley spent nearly 20 years working in the Brevard County Property Appraiser’s office.  Now she wants to run the place.  She is focused on winning the August 14th Republican primary by using her “math brain” to bring better technical expertise and transparency to her former workplace.   Jim Ford is the incumbent and her former boss.
"I want to create a model constitutional office that Brevard will be proud of and the other 66 jurisdictions will look to for best practices," Blickley said.  "This includes the application of a strategic plan to make sure all statutory requirements are met and exceeded.  There is a lack of integrity in current data. 

"I would institute a plan to comply with statutory requirements for field inspections to ensure data reliability and the responsible use of a taxpayer-funded web site including access to reliable parcel information, budget information, and actual expenditures."
Blickley also wants to make technical improvements on how different state and county offices share data.  Currently the Property Appraiser works daily with the state-funded Clerk of Courts, the county-funded Tax Collector, and the Board of County Commissioners.  She says it makes sense for the Property Appraiser to share server services with the County as was done in the past to achieve considerable savings.
“We desperately need compatible technical data to cut down on duplication and improve efficiency.  We used to be on the county server, but Mr. Ford removed us because he said he was worried about security.  The county server deals with 911 data, so I’m sure it can be trusted as secure,” she said. “I would ask for everyone to get in the same room and figure this out.”
As well, Blickley wants the appraiser’s office to be more open about its budget and expenditures.
"The Property Appraiser submits a budget for approval to the Florida Department of Revenue.  The budget is then forwarded to the county commission who allocates money from property taxes to fund the office," she said.  "While it's not required and hasn't been done in over 20 years, I believe the Property Appraiser should participate in budget process and present the budget to the county, like all other constitutional officers do, and answer questions about funding levels and changes in spending and budget allocation." 
Blickley also wants to restructure the office to save money and be more efficient.  She also wants to engage more with the public.

"Right now, the office is very vertical.  There are simply too many layers in the supervisory chain.  "It should be more horizontal and reflect appropriate levels for technical, customer service, and field operational staff.  There is no need for additional multiple levels of bosses.“I also plan to have quarterly town hall meetings that coincide with appraisal calendar items.  For instance, topics would include homestead and other exemptions, the TRIM or Truth in Millage process, Value Adjustment Board proceedings, and would be scheduled to give the public pertinent and timely information. This will keep the public more informed and educated about various topics and issues that can affect their values."

Blickley resigned from the Property Appraiser’s office in December 2006 after 20 years of service under cloudy circumstances.   She said it stemmed from her refusal to be a part of the cover-up of Ford’s marital infidelity in the workplace and other personal indiscretions that she considered a waste and mismanagement of public funds, which she would not support.  Ford said it was because of “unprofessional conduct.”
Blickley responded, “Interviews were conducted and people said things about me that weren’t true to keep their jobs.  A report was written for two purposes: to discredit me and to keep me from running for this office. It obviously failed on both accounts.”
Blickley has enjoyed her first run for office. “I have visited over 21,000 Brevard County homes in the last year – mostly on bicycle. I have been able to meet voters in unfiltered interviews and have been able to bridge the gap between what I think is important and what the voters think is important.  It has been a great experience.”
The Republican primary for Brevard County Property Appraiser will be held on August 14, 2012. Candidates are incumbent Jim Ford (who did not respond for a request for interview), Dana Blickley, and Jason Steele. The winner will face Democrat Charlie Sitton on November6, 2012.


  1. As the former systems administrator for the Appraisers office I can validate many of the points that Dana makes. I worked there from 1995-2007. I know that the PA pays for duplicate services that our tax dollars already pay for under the County Commission. From network hardware, software, security and support services. The annual cost of this is in excess of 400K.