Comal chief appraiser resigns amid flurry of staff compensation complaints

At least five appraisal district employees filed complaints about their pay, records show

Comal Appraisal District (KSAT)

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas – The head of the Comal Appraisal District resigned last week amid a long list of complaints from staff that he refused to adjust their pay and kept some employees below the minimum yearly salaries for their positions.

Chief Appraiser Rufino “Hector” Lozano submitted his resignation April 5. Although he stated in his resignation letter that he would be available to help with the transition to a new leader through the end of the month, an appraisal district official confirmed Thursday Lozano’s resignation became effective immediately.

Lozano issued a separate letter April 6 apologizing for “any error in judgment I have made,” stating his actions were not intentional.

Internal records released to the KSAT 12 Defenders Thursday following a public records request, show at least five appraisal district employees filed formal complaints related to Lozano’s handling of their pay.

At least one of the staff members, according to the records, filed a federal Equal Pay Act grievance after discovering that his salary was not in line with other managers at the agency.

Lozano was repeatedly accused of ignoring employees’ request to adjust their pay scales, according to the records.

Staff, in some instances, were paid less than the minimum yearly salaries for their positions, records show.

Complaints, sometimes for weeks and months on end, would go unanswered by Lozano, according to the records.

“I implore the board to take immediate action as I truly believe staff has reached a breaking point,” wrote one employee in a lengthy complaint letter submitted to the appraisal district’s board of directors in late January.

Lozano’s departure comes as appraisals and property tax amounts reach record levels throughout much of the state.

He was hired in March 2017, records show.

Lozano did not respond to an email seeking comment for this story.

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About the Author:

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined the KSAT 12 Defenders in 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.