Organized to improve the standards of assessment practice; to provide a clearing house for the collection and distribution of useful information relative to assessment practice; and to promote justice and equality in the distribution of the tax burden.

MAA President's Message

February Message

As many of us across this great state are preparing to send out the 2019 Notice of Assessment Change, I thought this would be a good opportunity to highlight the importance of effective communication.

Working on effective communication in our profession is the theme for this year’s conference.

Throughout my career, I have worked very hard to improve my communication skills and I have to admit it is not one of my strengths.  I have witnessed how critical effective communication is in this profession.  Communicating with property owners, taxpayers, business owners, public officials and the general public about the ad valorem property tax system and its nuances and changes are critical to our success as Assessors.  This is the first step in establishing their trust in our abilities and the property tax system.  When they fully understand and see the transparency of the assessment process, they gain confidence that they are being treated fairly and equitably.

Many of us have worked at the counter or on the phone explaining to taxpayers how the property tax system works.  Seldom do citizens learn in school about how their property tax is calculated and it falls upon this profession to explain the general property tax act and its critical role in our local government.  Our communication skills are vital as we spend hours with first-time home buyers, title companies, realtors, appraisers, attorneys and our citizens explaining the assessing process, millage rates, assessed and taxable values and SEV.  This local funding system works because Assessors do a great job communicating with their citizens.  Yet, we can all work to be more effective and become better in how we communicate.  Over the course of this year we will be focusing on the importance of effective communication in the assessing profession.

On a related topic, former Governor Rick Snyder signed into law HB 6049 on December 28, 2018.  This legislation changed some assessing requirements or codified certain processes into law.  Please read Public Act 659 of 2018 and become familiar with all the changes.  Many of the requirements codified into law deal with better constituent communications, such as having published office hours and contact information. This allows property owners to better communicate with the Assessor or representative thereof.  I believe that most local communities are already in compliance with these requirements, but nonetheless, this legislation reiterates that our state government also believes in good communications emanating from the Assessor’s office.  We must continue to work on communicating the property tax system to our customers, the property owner, as a major portion of our profession.

Please note that this law in its final form is different from the bill that was first introduced.  Many of the changes were improvements from the original language and much time was spent educating many legislators about our profession.  I would like to thank Ruth Scott and her team on the Legislative Committee for their efforts in communicating with the legislators about this profession and the assessment process.  Also, thank you to all the Assessors and local officials who took time to speak on behalf of the legislation.  I believe that these communications were effective in changing and improving the legislation.  We must continue this dialogue with the legislators.

I also want to congratulate Donna VanderVries, who was elected to the International Association of Assessing Officers Board of Directors this past year.  She will provide good representation of Michigan issues to this important group and keep Michigan apprised of what’s happening at the national level.

Finally, please mark your calendar for August 11-14, 2019.  These are the dates of the Annual Conference to be held at Crystal Mountain, Thompsonville, Michigan.  The education, networking and great company at the Michigan Assessors Association Conference provides each and every one of us the opportunity for professional development.

All the best,

Paula Jastifer President

News from Around the Country

MAA Webmaster
/ Categories: Article

Michigan Assessors Association

Strategic Planning Update

At its Strategic Planning session held November 18 & 19, 2018, the Michigan Assessors Association Board of Directors developed Mission and Vision statements for the organization. The Mission Statement is intended to be explain MAA's purpose and direction, while the Vision Statement focuses on our goals and aspirations as an organization. Both are designed to be uplifting, inspiring and timeless - even if the organization changes its strategy, the vision will often stay the same. These statements will be incorporated as part of our Board meeting agendas as well as posted on the website to keep them in the forefront.

Mission Statement:

The Mission of the Michigan Assessors Association is to promote excellence in assessment administration and professional development by providing quality education and advocating for equitable tax policy.

Vision Statement:

The Michigan Assessors Association will be the leader in education and the champion for accurate and efficient assessment administration.

After these statements were written, the Board then came up with objectives, based on our values, as an organization. Those values came from the list of priorities identified in previous strategic planning meetings. The objectives will be assigned to Committees, who will identify goals and specific tasks to achieve the objective.


  1. Education and Conference
    • affordable
    • quality
  2. Advocacy and Leadership
    • Liaison with STC
    • Data Resource - Magazine and Website
  3. Legislative
  4. Communication and Public Relations
    • Networking
    • Reaching younger members
    • Membership involvement


  1. Expand participation in educational programming by increasing attendance by 25%.
  2. Expand social media presence (Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, etc).
  3. Provide incentives for expanding membership (certified assessors who are not members).
  4. Create MAA designations (i.e. Equalization Director, Mentor, etc.).
  5. Recognize assessing excellence (passing AMAR) and advancing certification.
  6. Reduce education costs.
  7. Host "summit" with MAA affiliates.
Goals will be set to convert the strategic objectives into specific performance targets, and action items will identify the specific steps that will be taken to achieve the strategic objectives. Committees will be responsible for flushing out the details of the plan. If you want to make a difference in YOUR organization, now is the time to volunteer or say "YES!" when asked to be a committee member. MAA will only get better for everyone when we are ALL involved. The goals and action items, to be drafted by each Committee, will use this mnemonic so the Board, and our members, can monitor and see the progress being made:

S    M    A    R    T    E    R

Specific - identify the goal precisely and clearly

Measurable - establish criteria to measure progress toward reaching the goal. How we will know when it has been achieved?

Attainable - you have or will develop the capacity and capability to actually reach or attain the goal. We may have to develop abilities or kills or change behaviors to be successful.

Realistic - are we willing and able to work towards the goal? Make sure it is not unreasonably optimistic.

Timely - an identified time frame for reaching the goal. This creates a sense of urgency.

Evaluate - assess and evaluate progress regularly and adjust as needed.

Re-evaluate - review and assess whether the goal was actually achieved, determine what went well and what did not, identify what was learned.

Once the Board has reviewed and approved all of the goals and action items, along with a timeline for achieving them, this will become our Strategic Plan. A matrix will be developed and posted on the website for everyone to see.

The MAA Board hopes that more of you, our members, will get involved in this process, and help make the Michigan Assessors Association the best it can be - an organization we can all be proud to be part of!
Next Article ‘Dark Store’ pits Walmart against city in property tax fight
255 Rate this article:
No rating

Please login or register to post comments.



2019 IAAO President Timothy L. BoncoskeyI.A.A.O. President
Timothy L. Boncoskey, ASA

Phoenix, Arizona

The Michigan Assessors Association is an Affiliate and proud sponsor of the International Association of Assessing Officers About IAAO

MAA Executive Board Agenda

Login to download the current
MAA Executive Board Agenda:

Copyright (c) 2019 MAA Terms Of Use Privacy Statement