Fayette County

Longtime Fayette PVA Renee True retires

Fayette County Property Value Administrator Renee True will retire Thursday from the position she has held for 16 years.

True, who did not immediately return calls asking for comment, sent a letter to the Finance and Administration Cabinet dated Dec. 23 saying that she was retiring effective Jan. 1. True also announced her retirement on the Fayette County PVA Web site.

True reports to the state Department of Revenue, which is part of the Finance and Administration Cabinet. By retiring before the end of the year, True would be eligible for enhanced state retirement benefits enacted earlier this year. True made $8,371 a month as of August 2007, according to state personnel records.

True's tenure in the PVA's office, which is charged with assessing value to property, has not been without controversy.

True is under investigation by the state Executive Branch Ethics Commission for employing her mother in the PVA office. True is one of 11 PVAs who have been charged with violating ethics rules by employing relatives. The PVAs are fighting the investigation, saying the commission does not have the authority to interpret the statute that says that a public official cannot do anything that would benefit a family member.

True has said that her mother worked for the PVA before she was elected to the position. However, personnel records show that her mother, Linda Taulbee, retired and was later re-hired in a temporary position before being hired again full-time. True said in a 2007 Herald-Leader interview that she was not aware that her mother had retired and had been rehired.

True was first hired by her former husband, also named Rene True, in 1985 to run the office. When Rene True took another job, Renee True became PVA in 1992. She was later elected to the position and has been Fayette County's PVA ever since. She was most recently re-elected to the position in 2006.

True, 47, also ran for lieutenant governor with Steve Henry in the Democratic primary in 2007. Henry and True came in third in that race.

Valeria Cummings, a spokeswoman for the Finance and Administration Cabinet, said Gov. Steve Beshear would appoint someone to fill True's unexpired term. Anyone interested in the position must pass a test to be considered. Cummings said a date for the test had not been set.

On the Fayette County PVA Web site, True thanks Fayette County for allowing her to serve more than 23 years in the PVA office. Those 23 years include the time she worked in the office before being elected to the position. True noted that since she has worked at the PVA office, the office has fully computerized its records and started a free public Web site.