A handful of appraiser organizations joined together Thursday to send a letter to the US Department of the Interior, urging the hire of a chief appraiser. The groups - the Appraisal Institute, the American Society of Appraisers, the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers and the National Association of Independent Fee Appraisers - noted a December report (download here) from the Interior Department's Inspector General directs the filling of such a position, which has not been filled by qualified executive in almost three years. “Unfortunately, this lack of consistent, competent, and empowered leadership remains to date as the Department decided not to proceed with the selection of a new ASD [Appraisal Services Directorate] Chief Appraiser in June 2009,” the inspector general's report said. “Without the presence of a strong Chief Appraiser as lead, ASD cannot become a strong appraisal organization and cannot work to enforce policy directives…” In response to this directive, the appraisal organizations - representing 35,000 real estate appraisers - penned a letter (download here) to Interior Department secretary Ken Salazar, urging the selection of a "strong and competent chief appraiser...to lead further change within ASD and to provide a single point of contact, offer sound judgment and have final decision authority on appraisal matters." The letter adds: “Our organizations believe appraisal issues are extremely complex, and the importance of the appraisal function must be elevated within the Department. It is critical for the appraisal function to be lead by a technically competent appraiser.” Write to Diana Golobay.