We honor the county officials who have led the TAC Board of Directors during almost half a century. Their leadership has enabled the TAC Board and the Association to support the evolving needs of county officials and county government in serving the people of Texas.
Comal County Treasurer
Comal County Treasurer Renee Couch showed exemplary leadership as TAC President during the COVID-19 pandemic, which coincided with her tenure. The outbreak required the Association to adapt swiftly to persistent challenges. She also helped county officials connect with state leaders during the arduous 87th Texas Legislature and its three special sessions. In addition, she achieved one of her primary goals as President by strengthening TAC's relationship with the National Association of Counties. Couch was appointed Comal County Treasurer in 2007 and then elected in 2008. She was president of the County Treasurers’ Association of Texas in 2015-2016 and was named Texas' Outstanding County Treasurer in 2017.
Hidalgo County Constable
Hidalgo County Constable Larry Gallardo led the Association through several significant challenges and events during his term, including TAC's 50th anniversary in 2019. He represented the Association during the 86th Legislature, which was a tumultuous one for counties, and guided the search for someone to succeed retiring Executive Director Gene Terry, hiring former Ector County Judge Susan M. Redford. Gallardo became Hidalgo County Constable in 2001 and worked extensively with TAC and the Justices of the Peace and Constables Association of Texas (JPCA). The JPCA chose him as Constable of the Year in 2007 and 2010. In 2015, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from JPCA.
Brazoria County Clerk
Brazoria County Clerk Joyce Hudman guided TAC during the particularly contentious 85th Texas Legislature; helped roll out Leadership 254, a new program on leadership skills for county officials; established the publicly accessible County Elections Database for county-held elections; and improved member records access across all TAC departments. Hudman became Brazoria County Clerk in 1999 and soon became involved with the County and District Clerks' Association of Texas, where she served as president in 2011. In 2012, she joined the TAC Board of Directors and served on multiple Association committees over the years. She also served on the TAC Risk Management Pool Board and Executive Committee from 2013 to 2015.
Don R. Allred
Oldham County Judge
Oldham County Judge Don Allred served during a time of growth for the Association. He helped kick off the Texas Counties Deliver public information campaign to improve trust in county government. He also led stepped-up efforts at the state Capitol to help lawmakers understand how their decisions affect county government. He worked closely with the Board, the boards of the pools and Association staff to provide the best possible services to members. Allred was elected Oldham County Judge in 1991. Before then, he served on the TAC Board as the representative from the West Texas County Judges and Commissioners Association and the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas.
Navarro County Justice of the Peace
Navarro County Justice of the Peace Connie Hickman was the first justice of the peace and the first woman to take the TAC helm. She worked to ensure that Association committees were represented by elected officials from all officeholder positions. She also led the way in enhancing county investment officer training through the creation of the County Investment Academy and in creating connections with other state associations and national county leaders. Hickman was first elected justice of the peace in 1990. She joined the TAC Board of Directors in 2005 and had also served as president of the Justices of the Peace and Constables Association.
Roberts County Judge
Roberts County Judge Vernon Cook oversaw a time of transition within the Association. Together with newly appointed Executive Director Gene Terry, Cook worked to improve the Association's succession process, appoint new leaders to TAC departments and increase the cost-effectiveness of TAC pools, all while advocating on behalf of counties during one of the most challenging legislative sessions in Texas history. Cook was elected County Judge in 1991. Prior to his TAC presidency, he served as president of the West Texas County Judges and Commissioners Association and the Panhandle Regional Planning Commission, as well as a board member of the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas.
Tarrant County Commissioner
Tarrant County Commissioner J.D. Johnson led the TAC Board of Directors through a strategic planning process during his tenure. And for the first time, a significant strategic plan was developed by TAC's self-insurance pools. Also, the TAC Health and Employee Benefits Pool set up its Healthy County initiative, offering incentives to Pool member employees. In addition, TAC launched a new internet site that offered brief videos about accessing county services. Johnson had also been president of the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas and the West Texas County Judges and Commissioners Association. He was the first county commissioner to be appointed to the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.
Brazos County District Clerk
Brazos County District Clerk Marc Hamlin presided over TAC during a period of significant transition. He chaired a search committee that selected Karen Ann Norris to become Executive Director after the passing of Sam Seale, and the Board approved the merger of three self-insurance funds into the TAC Risk Management Pool. And for the first time, the pools began to offer member counties substantial renewal credits based on loss history and continued renewals. Hamlin played a major role in legislative battles to maintain county fiscal capability by opposing lower caps on appraisals or revenue. He also personally presented Best Practices Awards to dozens of commissioners courts during his tenure.
Harris County Constable
Harris County Constable Bill Bailey challenged all county officials to work to educate the public on the importance of county government during his term. Projects initiated while he was President include brochures and displays explaining counties as well as a drive to increase media coverage of issues affecting counties. In August 2003, Bailey presided over the ribbon-cutting for the new TAC Building in Austin. During his tenure, the Association reached a long-established financial goal of a $10 million reserve fund. In addition, TAC's County Information Resources Agency saw membership expand to 217 counties. And TAC's fully insured health benefits program achieved independence by establishing the self-insured TAC Health and Employee Benefits Pool.
Palo Pinto County Judge
2000-2001 and 2004-2005
Palo Pinto County Judge Mickey West, who served two terms, led TAC during the initiation of several important initiatives, including E-County. He spoke extensively to county groups on the topic and established the E-County Task Force to develop a plan to bring enhanced technology to all counties. West was a member of the TAC Building Committee from its inception, and work on the new headquarters in Austin began during his tenure. He was a founding member of the TAC Leadership Foundation Board of Directors. West was elected County Judge in 1996. Before then, he served as County Auditor for 15 years. He had also been president of the Texas Association of County Auditors.
Smith County Judge
Smith County Judge Larry Craig led a campaign during his term to educate county officials about TAC's wide array of services. He also saw to the creation of the County Information Project and the initiation of group email lists, as well as the expansion of the TAC website. In addition, multiple "listening posts" were held around the state to get input from county officials. Craig served as Smith County Judge for 16 years. He also held an advanced peace officers certification and was an associate member of the Smith County Bar Association. He was appointed to be chairman of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards. He also chaired TAC's Leadership Foundation Board.
David N. Perdue
Knox County Judge
Knox County Judge David N. Perdue served an unprecedented three years as President after bylaw changes in 1995. During his term, the Association initiated its first internet site, and TAC's CountyChoice employee benefits program developed a long-term strategy to enhance managed care for county employees. Perdue's main goal led to the establishment of a specialized education staff devoted to the needs of TAC members. The education staff was expanded so TAC could obtain credentials allowing it to issue continuing education units. Perdue served Knox County for 17 years. In 1999, the Texas Legislature recognized him as the only county official in the state's history to have served as president of every possible state or regional association dealing with county government.
Swisher County Judge
Swisher County Judge Jay Johnson had a special interest in protecting counties against losses, resulting in the establishment of a broad range of loss control training and technical assistance programs during his tenure as TAC President. Prior to his service as President, Johnson chaired the TAC Workers' Compensation Self-Insurance Fund and oversaw a transition of that program to an upgraded level of claims management. He had also worked as the TAC Education Program Manager. Johnson served as Swisher County Judge for 12 years. He had also been president of the West Texas County Judges and Commissioners Association and a longtime member of the County Judges Education Committee.
San Patricio County Commissioner
San Patricio County Commissioner Carl Duncan was perhaps best known for his everyday presence in Austin during the legislative session. He worked tirelessly to promote county concerns, particularly those relating to the crisis of overcrowded county jails due to the need for counties to house state inmates. While Duncan was President, County Government Week observances were established for the first time and TAC's health benefits program was expanded to assist counties self-insuring their benefits through the establishment of the Employee Benefits Pool. County magazine was established as a bimonthly publication and several significant education programs were created, including TAC's County Investment Officer Certification Program and the Advanced County Government Seminar.
Adolph Thomae Jr.
Cameron County Commissioner
Cameron County Commissioner Adolph Thomae Jr. was highly involved in the legislative process on behalf of Texas counties during his term and was a key player in the study of indigent health care, resulting in landmark legislation in the mid-1980s. He was the leading force in establishing mandatory continuing education for county commissioners and chaired the first Commissioners Education Committee. He also served as president of the South Texas Judges and Commissioners Association, as well as the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas. Thomae promoted the growth of local parks in Texas, and a large beach park in Cameron County is named in his honor.
Dallas County Treasurer
Dallas County Treasurer Bill Melton was the first non-commissioners court member to serve as TAC President. He laid the groundwork for the growth of TAC, from its initial mission of governmental relations to a broader focus as a service organization meeting the needs of all counties and county officials. During his tenure, the Association's field services program was established and TAC's first headquarters building was purchased. The County Government Risk Management Pool was also established. Melton served as Dallas County Treasurer for 25 years. He was named by American City & County magazine as County Leader of the Year in 1995. He also served as president of the County Treasurers' Association of Texas.
Jefferson County Commissioner
Jefferson County Commissioner Norman Troy helped counties deal with a liability insurance crisis during his tenure. He and TAC Executive Director Sam Clonts worked tirelessly through three special legislative sessions to obtain legislative approval so counties could join together to self-insure and cover this risk. During his term, TAC's Workers' Compensation Fund grew to 332 members, and 221 were county members. Troy served as a Jefferson County Commissioner for seven terms. He also served as president of both the South Texas County Judges and Commissioners Association and the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas. He was named Official of the Year in 1984 by the South Texas organization.
Garza County Judge
Garza County Judge Giles Dalby's term as President was his first step in a long line of TAC leadership roles. After his year as President, he chaired the boards of the newly formed County Government Risk Management Pool and the Workers' Compensation Self-Insurance Fund. Dalby was also the founding chair of the County Judges Education Committee, which worked with the Legislature to obtain funding for this important venture. He was one of Texas' longest-serving county judges. He was also president of the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas, as well as the West Texas County Judges and Commissioners Association. In 1975 and 2000, the latter organization named him Man of the Year.
Cochran County Judge
Cochran County Judge Glenn Thompson oversaw the expansion of the Association's newly established health benefits program during his tenure. The program grew to include 83 political entities, including 55 counties. He also helped expand TAC's reach — only two of the state's 254 counties weren't dues-paying members of the Association then. During his presidency, the Association moved its offices to 15th and Guadalupe streets in Austin, near the University of Texas campus. Thompson served as a Cochran County Commissioner from 1940 to 1942 and served four terms as Cochran County Judge, beginning in 1947. He also initiated the creation of the Cochran Memorial Hospital District.
Rockwall County Judge
Rockwall County Judge Derwood Wimpee helped counties find affordable health insurance for employees. He was involved in establishing TAC's Group Health Insurance Program and in selecting the coverage provider. Few officials can match his 34 years of county government service. In 1947, he was elected Rockwall County Clerk. In 1962, he was elected County Judge and served for 20 years. Wimpee was also president of the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas as well as president of the North and East Texas Judges and Commissioners Association. He was the first recipient of the North and East Texas Judges and Commissioners Association's Man of the Year Award.
Brazoria County Commissioner
Brazoria County Commissioner Joe Brigance oversaw the establishment of the Unemployment Compensation Fund, and the Board agreed to hold biennial conferences for officials across the state during his term. He was a County Commissioner for 16 years, starting in 1962. Brigance was also president of the South Texas Judges and Commissioners Association and the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas. He was appointed to serve on the Executive Committee of Texas Good Roads/Transportation Association and the board of the Texas County & District Retirement System. A devoted volunteer all his life, Brigance's last activity was the Road to Recovery, where he drove cancer victims to treatment facilities.
Knox County Judge
Knox County Judge Sam Clonts was TAC President from 1976-77 and its Executive Director from 1977-1987. He provided the leadership and stability that established the Association as a well-known and respected voice on county issues. He played a major role in initiating TAC's judicial education program and setting up an orientation program for newly elected county judges and commissioners. Clonts also worked to establish TAC's Legislative Symposium, held before each legislative session, and defended county interests to state lawmakers. He represented counties during the writing of critical legislation, including the 1985 creation of the Indigent Health Care Act. He served as County Judge from 1967 to 1976.
Gregg County Commissioner
Gregg County Commissioner Bill Owens, one of TAC's founding fathers, was its first appointed Executive Director, from 1969-71, and its third president. During his term, TAC's Workers' Compensation Self-Insurance Fund was established after the Texas Legislature mandated that counties provide coverage for all employees. TAC's paid membership increased to 245 counties during his presidency. He also personally worked with the Legislature in promoting the establishment of the Association and in encouraging Gov. Preston Smith to sign the legislation into law. Owens reportedly established TAC's first physical presence in Austin when he brought a trailer from East Texas to the capitol city for the legislative session in 1973. He had also served as president of both the North and East Texas County Judges and Commissioners Association and the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas.
Kenneth "Buck" Douglas
Navarro County Judge
Navarro County Judge Kenneth “Buck” Douglas was hired by the Board of Directors as TAC's first full-time executive director, before he became President. One of TAC's founding fathers, he helped get the Association off the ground by renting office space in Austin and hiring an assistant. His guidance and forethought were instrumental to the future of TAC. Douglas was Navarro County Judge for 16 years. His superior leadership helped the county to operate nearly free of debt during those years. Under his guidance, many improvements were made within his county. He resigned from TAC to run for district judge, a post that he would retain for 20 years.
Dallam County Judge
Dallam County Judge W.D. Henson, along with other county officials, played a major role in persuading the Legislature to authorize the creation of TAC. At an inaugural meeting of 11 county associations in Dallas, he was unanimously elected to be TAC's first president. His term was highlighted by a constant presence in Austin during the legislative session. He is also responsible for publishing TAC's first newsletter and holding its first legislative reception. Henson was elected Dallam County Judge in 1950 and served for more than 27 years. He was also president of the West Texas County Judges and Commissioners Association and the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas.