Philadelphia reassessment boss to step down

Posted: May 21, 2014

The man who led the charge in Mayor Nutter's property-tax reform effort will step down next month, Nutter said Monday.

Richie McKeithen, head of the Office of Property Assessment since its creation in 2010, will return to Richmond, Va., to be with his family full-time, and become chief assessment officer in nearby Petersburg.

"He has, without question, been a constant professional throughout a very challenging citywide property reassessment process," Nutter said.

McKeithen called his time in office a "great experience."

"I'm extremely proud of what we have built and what we have established," McKeithen said. His last day is June 13.

Nutter hired McKeithen after Philadelphia voters decided in 2010 to disband the Board of Revision of Taxes, which had been in charge of assessments.

McKeithen oversaw a staff of more than 130 that implemented the Actual Value Initiative, which sought to determine the true market value of the 579,000 parcels of land citywide. The new values led to a record 23,611 appeals filed last year. Some of those appeals are still pending review.

Mike Piper, current deputy chief in the office, will fill in as chief until a permanent replacement is found. He will start as acting Chief June 16 and will be in the running for the permanent job.

Piper, who has worked in property assessment for the city for 20 years and knows the old system and new system well, said:

"Where we've come based on where we've been is nothing short of miraculous."

215-854-5520 @InqCVargas

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