Board of Assessors

Board of Assessors

Board members are appointed to fixed terms, as defined by state law. The Board of Assessors is the agency charged with the responsibility of establishing the fair market value of property for ad valorem taxation purposes.

Presently, the Board members are James D. Vernor (Chair), Joe Kusmik (Vice-Chair), Robert A. Burroughs, Charlene Fang, and Genet Hopewell.  The Board Secretary is Calvin C. Hicks, Jr.

James Doyle Vernor PhD, MAI is serving as the 2024 Board Chair.


 Dr. Vernor is Chairman Emeritus and Associate Professor Emeritus of Real Estate at Georgia State University      where he was a full-time faculty member from 1974 through 1997 teaching real estate appraisal, finance,  investments and market research. He has also been a mortgage officer, a real estate broker and a commercial  real estate appraiser. He is an MAI Member (semi-retired) of the Appraisal Institute and a member of the  International Association of Assessing Officers, the American Real Estate Society, and the Urban land Institute.

 He holds a BBA with a Finance major, MBA in Real Estate and Urban Development, and PhD in Real Estate and Urban Land Economics, all from the University of Wisconsin. He served a previous term as a member of the DeKalb County Board of Assessors from 1993-2000.

He has published articles on appraisal in academic and practitioner journals as well as several books for The Appraisal Institute in Chicago. He has served as a consultant to retail companies, hotel chains, developers, attorneys and governments.

Joseph N. Kusmik is serving as the 2024 Board Vice-Chair.

Since 2003, Kusmik has been President and principal appraiser for Oracle Real Estate Services, LLC, a full-service real estate company that specializes in real estate appraisal.   He appraises residential and commercial property as well as managing the company.

His appraisal background also includes serving as a former Corporate Officer with The Appraisal Group, a commercial/residential appraisal firm and as a commercial appraiser with Pritchett, Ball & Wise where he prepared full narrative appraisals, market studies and court testimony.  Kusmik also served as a Division Manager of Human Services for the DeKalb County Planning Department.

He earned a BBA in Urban Studies from Oglethorpe University and an MBA in City Planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology.  He is a Georgia Certified Real Estate Appraiser and belongs to the Rotary Club of Decatur.

Robert A. Burroughs J.D.  

 Burroughs graduated from Emory University School of Law in 1978 and was admitted to  practice law in the State of Georgia the same year.  His practice is concentrated in the  areas of real estate, wills and estates. He is a past member of the DeKalb County  Planning Commission where he served as Chairman from 2001 to 2004. He is a former  member of the DeKalb County Development Advisory Board. He is an active member  and a former president of the DeKalb Lawyers Association. He also formerly served as  General Counsel of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, Inc.

 Burroughs served on active duty in the United States Marine Corps from 1971 to 1975.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from North Carolina Central University and a Doctor of Law degree from Emory University School of Law.

Charlene Fang

A native of Taiwan, Fang immigrated to the United States in 1989. She served for 15 years as Relationship Officer with Summit National Bank until joining the Touchmark National Bank as Senior Vice President and Business Development Officer.  In 2014, Fang founded her own educational consulting business.

Fang has devoted much of her time giving back to the community. She is a past president of the Chinese American Lions Club and served as a “Leo Advisor,” guiding the youth service club. Fang was the first female President to serve the Hip Sing Association of Atlanta, a 150-year-old Chinese association. She is a founding member of the Taiwanese American Women’s Club and the Chamblee Chamber of Commerce. Fang is a former board member of Leadership DeKalb, a former board member of the National American Chinese Association, the past president and past zone chair of North Decatur Lions Club, and currently serves on the board of the DeKalb Police Alliance, and board of Discover DeKalb.  She is Vice President of the FBI Atlanta Citizens Academy Alumni Association and a board member of Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation.

Genet McIntosh Hopewell

Genet Hopewell photo

Genet Hopewell graduated from the University of Notre Dame and the Catholic University School of Law and was admitted to the practice law in the State of Georgia in 1982.  She is a Partner in the law Firm of Johnson Hopewell Coleman and has previously worked as a DeKalb County Staff Attorney and has also been appointed to serve as a part-time judge in DeKalb County Magistrate Court, DeKalb County Recorders’ Court, DeKalb County Juvenile Court and the City of Lithonia Municipal Court. 

Ms. Hopewell is a proud resident of DeKalb County with has a long history of public service and community involvement.  She is a co-founder, past president and current treasurer of the DeKalb Lawyers Association and president of Arthink DeKalb. She has also served as a member of the State Bar of Georgia’s BASICS Committee and the DeKalb County Merit System Council. Ms. Hopewell is a 2003 graduate of Leadership DeKalb and the National Institute of Trial Advocacy and has been a certified mediator since 1992.  Ms. Hopewell previously served as Vice-Chair of the DeKalb Peachtree Airport Advisory Board, president of the Board of Directors of the DeKalb Council for the Arts, and a member of the DeKalb County Cable TV Advisory Board, the DeKalb Judicial Facilities Authority, DeKalb County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and the DeKalb Creative Industries Task Force.