NCAAO Names New President:
Q&A with Greta Skeen

Durham, NC – January 2, 2014. Posted by Shelley Hare.

INTRO: NCAAO has announced the appointment of Greta Skeen, Dare County Assessor as their new President for 2013-2014. Greta has been an influential member of NCAAO for many years, serving as Vice President last year, and participating as a member of the Executive Board since 2009.

Greta has more than 22 years of experience working in NC tax administration, and is looking forward to her term as President.

I recently spoke with Greta to get a quick look into her role as Assessor for Dare County and the overall vision for her NCAAO presidency:

Q: What are the most rewarding aspects of your current position as Dare County Assessor? What are the most challenging?

Rewarding: “I can say that I am never bored, never have been, and never will be,” said Greta. “I really enjoy working with my staff. Most of them have been here for quite some time and I enjoy getting to know their strengths and seeing how experience and education work together over time to make us better at what we do.”

“We have very good support from our commissioners and county manager, which helps quite a bit,” Greta continued. “Having the ability to use technology to make our information more accurate and accessible is exciting. Even though the technology part can be very challenging, as long as you can keep up with the changes, it’s amazing to see what is out there and what can be done if you stay open to it.”

Challenging: “Revaluations are probably the most challenging aspect of the job,” shared Greta. “Juggling the normal day-to-day work load, along with 2-3 years of revaluation work is tricky. But, I am a problem solver and I like seeing how the puzzle fits together, and it does with a little bit of work. I have been through three revaluations and each one has been completely different, each with their own challenges. But, they have all been successful, which is a plus. I don’t consider a challenge to be a problem, it’s just a challenge.”

“The most difficult part of my job involves the County’s vulnerability to storms. During storms my staff is responsible for damage assessment, reporting on storm damage, and follow-up work,” Greta continued. There is only so much planning and preparing that can be done for a storm. We’ve done it enough now that we know what we are doing, but it still affects our County, our economy, our work, families, and homes, and can affect us for weeks or months depending on the storm’s damage.”

Q: What are you most looking forward to as the new NCAAO President?

“I am looking forward to becoming more involved in issues that are relevant to our assessors statewide through work with our Legislative committee,” says Greta. “I’ve worked closely with others in our organization during the time I’ve been on the executive board, and it’s been very rewarding and eye-opening. It takes a tremendous amount of coordination of effort to make changes that potentially affect 100 offices across the state. I’m looking forward to doing whatever is necessary to promote and communicate our goals as an organization.”

Q: What is your vision for your term as president of the NCAAO?

Greta’s vision during her term is to revamp the internal workings to provide a better framework within NCAAO. “We want more continuity within the organization so that when new people come on board they will clearly understand the way the organization works and know what to do,” Greta explained. “We want a better defined Executive Board and Committees by the end of the year. Accomplishing that will actually be a big feat in my opinion.”

Q: What critical issues do you plan to address during your one-year term?

“There is really one main focus that we are working on,” Greta told us. “It was started during Ben Chavis’s presidency this past year. We are working on developing property revaluation standards to be used across the state. We want more consistency between counties on all aspects of revaluations – how they are scheduled and conducted; standardization of notices; how appeals are handled.”

“Currently there are many variations and ways of conducting a revaluation; and each county conducts theirs slightly differently,” said Greta. “It would be beneficial for taxpayers to know that if it will be this way in one county, it will be the same in the others. And it could be beneficial for the vendors as well.”

“We are currently working with the Department of Revenue to have proposed standards in place that we can all agree on,” continued Greta. “Then, implementing those standards would be the next step after that.”

Q: How do you plan to address and advance NCAAO goals through professionalism, education, and communication during your term?

Professionalism: “Professionalism speaks for itself through the people in our organization and how much experience they have,” Greta responds. “It’s amazing the amount of experience we do have. But, we are also in the midst of a lot of retirements so we are losing some of that experience. One of my goals is to get more of the administrative staff involved in NCAAO, so they can be ready to step up when the time comes.”

Education: “I am a real proponent of education,” shared Greta. “In the last few years, both NCAAO and NCTCA have gotten a lot better at offering continuing education at our conferences. But, we want to continue and do more of that and try to work with the Department of Revenue and the School of Government to provide more low cost regional education opportunities for our members.”

Communication: “This is one of the toughest issues to address because we are all busy with our jobs and inundated with information,” explained Greta. “To get noticed, you have to be really creative to get through all the noise of things that come through every day. But, we want to get across the benefits of our organization and being involved – so hopefully if I am able to reach at least the Assessors, then I will be able to get to their staff as well.”