Voices of County Government - Hon. Larry Gaddes

County government officials are as diverse as the Texans who elect them, coming from every background imaginable. In this issue we talk with Williamson County Tax Assesor-Collector Larry Gaddes

By County magazine

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In all 254 counties, county government is a full-time job. Texas county government officials dedicate their careers and lives to public service and are the foremost experts on the challenges their neighbors face each day. County government officials are as diverse as the Texans who elect them, coming from every background imaginable. But as a group, they have one thing in common: from El Paso to Newton and from Dallam to Cameron, county officials are dedicated and committed to keeping Texas strong. Here, county officials talk about their passion for public service. (Interviews here have been edited for brevity.)

How long have you been the Williamson County Tax Assessor-Collector?

Almost two years. 

Prior to your election, what kind of work did you do? What got you interested in running for office?

I worked 20 years for HEB throughout Central Texas. I left retail and went to work at the appraisal district for two years. I was then hired as the chief deputy for the previous tax assessor-collector, Deborah Hunt, and served in that position for over six years before Deborah’s retirement. 

What was the biggest surprise or adjustment after taking office? 

Getting used to the number of commitments that take me out of the office is the biggest adjustment. As chief deputy, I could spend most of my day at the office with staff. Now that I’m serving on several committees and boards, among other things, I have meetings and other obligations that take me out of the office more than I would like.

What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced, and what advice would you give your peers across the state that may face the same or similar challenges?

I’ve was very fortunate to have worked in the office as chief deputy before being elected. The office and staff were already running well, so there weren’t a lot of things that needed to be changed or fixed. The biggest challenge I think everyone faces, no matter the size or type of office, is managing the people. Make sure you have the right people and that they are capable and willing to do the job the way you want it done.

Since taking office, what accomplishment are you most proud of?

There is more than one! I’m proud to serve my peers as a member of the Board of Directors for the Tax Assessor/Collector Association. Additionally, I’m proud to have just been accepted into TAC’s Leadership 254 class. But I’m most proud of the reputation this office has of outstanding customer service that our staff has earned serving our taxpayers.

What do you find are the most successful methods for reaching out to the residents of Williamson County to communicate what your office is doing and why?

I feel strongly that part of my job is being an educator and part of that means teaching anyone I can about local government, how it works and how they can play a role in it. I take every opportunity I can to speak to people that I know will repeat to their friends and neighbors something they heard me talk about. This includes speaking to real estate professionals, community leaders, homeowner associations, title companies, etc. There’s also this little thing called social media. I do that too.

When you’re not at work, what are you doing? Do have any hobbies or something interesting that may surprise your colleagues?

My wife and I are known for our unique Christmas cards.

What is your favorite thing about Williamson  County? 

I love the location, the people and the fact that it is a growing, diverse and vibrant county that offers a lot of fantastic things for its residents.