Tarrant County commissioners voted in favor of Vince Puente Sr. as the nominee to become the chair for the Tarrant Appraisal District.

The Commissioners Court held a special meeting May 9 and cast all 515 votes in favor of Puente. That made up a majority of the 545 votes needed from stakeholders within the county, which secured the spot for the Fort Worth businessperson. The two nominees listed during the meeting were Puente and Mattie Peterson Compton.

Diving in deeper: Puente was appointed as a member of the Finance Commission of Texas in 2016 by Gov. Greg Abbott and reappointed to the spot through 2024. He is the co-owner and president of marketing and sales for Southwest Office Systems Inc., which offers information technology services. He’s served on a number of boards: YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas, Dallas Regional Chamber, Tarrant County Prayer Breakfast, Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Big Brothers Big Sisters-Lone Star, North Texas Commission and Greater Irving Chamber.

County Judge Tim O’Hare nominated Puente for the board’s vacant seat. Keller City Council also nominated Puente, who acted as campaign treasurer during O’Hare’s run for county judge in 2022.

A closer look: Commissioners Alisa Simmons, Gary Fickes, Manny Ramirez and O’Hare voted in favor of Puente, while Commissioner Roy Charles Brooks was absent for the May 9 meeting. During an April 18 commissioners meeting, Brooks and Simmons nominated Peterson Compton for the position, but the motion failed 3-2 with O'Hare, Fickes and Ramirez voting against her. Compton is a retired federal prosecutor.

How voting works: The following taxing units were entitled to nominate a candidate and had the following number of votes:
  • Mansfield ISD: 41
  • City of Grand Prairie: 60
  • City of Hurst: 10
  • City of Keller: 4
  • City of Mansfield: 50
  • City of North Richland Hills: 35
  • Tarrant County: 515
  • Tarrant County College: 15
With the decision by the commissioners in Tarrant County, Puente received all 515 votes from the county and finished with 600 votes, according to a news release from the TAD. An exact breakdown of the other taxing entities’ votes for Puente was not provided by the TAD.

What happened: Puente replaces Kathryn Wilemon, who was recalled from her position by the commissioners in March. She previously had resigned as chair, but a vote to accept that was rescinded by the Tarrant Appraisal District in March as well.

Puente will serve until Wilemon’s two-year term expires at the end of the year.

Without the recall, O’Hare said the TAD board could have picked the replacement for Wilemon.

“I have never been a fan of looking for people that will agree with [you],” O’Hare said in an interview with Community Impact in late April.

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