He said it should be made easy for taxpayers to meet with tax officials to work out problems. He said he and others he has talked to have had unpleasant experiences with county tax officials.
"Courtesy and respect is one of the biggest aspects of my campaign," he said.
Robinson disagreed, saying the assessor's employees meet with taxpayers all the time to work out differences or discrepancies in their tax bills. In recent years, the number of taxpayers appealing to the Kanawha County Commission's Board of Review and Equalization has slowed to a trickle. The board is the last step for taxpayers to appeal a tax bill with which they disagree.
"I resent the comment that we are not friendly in the assessor's office," she said.
Carper has recently been in a dispute with the assessor's office over tax appraisals on rental property he owns. Carper said he has found staff for the assessor hard to reach and hard to work with, but Robinson said Carper has not supplied information assessors have asked for to look into his assessments.
Carper and Robinson took few jabs at one another on Tuesday, but the candidates' meeting was not completely without sparring.
"There were rumors that if I was elected, I would fire or eliminate a lot of people in the assessor's office," Carper said. "That's not true."
He said he sent letters to employees in the office telling them he was not planning on firing anyone who supported Robinson. Robinson, who got one of the letters herself, took the mailing as a personal affront.
Recently, a complaint was filed with the state Ethics Commission alleging Robinson was using her office for campaigning. Buddy Jones, who works for Carper's campaign, filed the complaint.
"I feel that it's a defamation of character," Robinson said of the complaint. "I think he's attacked me personally.
"There's not a more honest person in the world than Phyllis Gatson," Robinson said. "If I were running a campaign out of my office, she'd know it."
Reach Rusty Marks at rustyma...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.