FULTON COUNTY, Ga. -- Fulton County's chief tax appraiser has been fired after a miscalculation in property taxes delayed bills from going out by nearly two months.
Late Thursday, the Tax Assessor's Board voted to terminate David Fitzgibbon's employment after a two-hour meeting. As chief tax appraiser, Fitzgibbon is responsible for setting the county's tax rates and sending out tax bills. He failed at both this year, 11Alive Investigator Catie Beck has uncovered.
A county vendor provided wrong numbers and delayed bills from going out in July to being sent in September. County board members blamed Fitzgibbon's office for not finding the problem sooner and for stalling operating budgets across the county.
Several members of the county board called for increased accountability for the commissioner after the debacle caused confusion and distraction within several municipalities.
Fitzgibbon has taken no responsibility for the mistake and claims the board was acting under political pressure from county commissioners.
"It was the software vendor -- the software vendor's contract is with the IT department and the tax commissioner," he said. "The issues were on the tax commissioner's side and not the assessor's side."
Fulton County Chairman John Eaves said that Atlanta Public Schools will be forced to borrow operating money because of the money. That will cost taxpayers thousands of dollars in interest, Eaves said.
Eaves issued a statement late Thursday saying,
“The Fulton County Board of Tax Assessors today made the decision to make a leadership change in the position of Chief Appraiser.
I fully support the Board of Assessors’ decision, and look forward to moving forward with improving efficiency and service in the Tax Assessors’ office. Our citizens expect and deserve government operations that meet the highest professional standards.”