The Issue: Property Appraiser.

Our View: Cregg Dalton best candidate for the post.

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Editor's note: The Chronicle Editorial Board issues endorsements of local candidates. Endorsement decisions are based on multiple interviews conducted with each candidate by the board and staff. Candidates not endorsed by the editorial board of the Chronicle are encouraged to submit a rebuttal to letters@chronicleonline.com no later than Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. All rebuttals submitted prior to the deadline are guaranteed to publish no later than Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, the day before Election Day.

Voters will have the opportunity to select between two candidates – Cregg Dalton, Republican, and Richard “Rick” Schroeder, no-party affiliation — in the 2020 General Election.

Vote-by-mail has already begun, and early voting begins Oct. 19. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3

Both candidates have the background to lead the department. Dalton has a college degree, proven work experience, a servant-leader philosophy and a grasp of the responsibilities for the office they seek. Schroeder has a background in real estate and appraising. He moved from Polk County to Citrus in 2008 to work for the Citrus County property appraiser’s office as a residential appraiser, a job he’s held since then.

The most important factor in this position is leadership and Dalton has the clear edge here.

Although education is essential and experience important to the successful direction of any organization, leadership is absolutely critical. As such, Dalton’s proven leadership ability, coupled with his impressive record of community outreach and building relationships, make him the best choice for property appraiser.

Schroeder declined to provide answers to the Chronicle’s candidate questionnaire and also declined to participate in the newspaper’s editorial board candidate interviews.

Dalton’s Masters of Business Administration degree affords him the educational breadth of perspective to creatively think outside-the-box, strategically plan, intuitively analyze data, and resourcefully solve organizational problems.

Schroeder, in an interview with a Chronicle reporter in early September, said the office is running extremely well after having gone through the havoc created when (former property appraiser Geoffrey Greene) took office, he is running in order to “maintain that harmony and transition with as little turbulence as possible. A seamless transfer of administration, if you will.”

Dalton’s appraiser experience includes 3-1/2 years with the Sumter County Property Appraiser Office and two years as a private sector appraiser. It is complemented by his U.S. Navy service, 11 years service with the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office where he advanced through the ranks to sergeant. Dalton also has extensive, longtime community involvement.

Being a successful constitutional officer is much more than knowing the nuts and bolts of the office held. It requires a leader who is a creative thinker, team-builder, good communicator, caring mentor and enthusiastic motivator. Dalton, a graduate of the University of Louisville’s Administrative Leadership Course and Executive Leadership Graduate Program, has exhibited these leadership attributes in abundance.

This is attested to by the endorsements of Dalton by former Citrus County Property Appraiser Melanie Hensley, the property appraisers of Lake County and Sumter County, and Citrus County Commissioner Jeff Kinnard. Based upon their collective leadership insights, we believe Dalton is the right choice for voters.