Voices of County Government - Collin County Clerk Stacey Kemp

County government officials are as diverse as the Texans who elect them, coming from every background imaginable. In this issue we talk with Lynn County Tax Assessor-Collector Donna Wilis

By County magazine

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How long have you been the Collin County Clerk?

I’ve been in office since 2007.

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

I worked in the Collin County Clerk’s Office as chief deputy. My whole career has been in the county clerk's office — 32 years total.

What was the biggest surprise or adjustment after taking office? 

When I started, everything was done manually. Now, I’m all about automation, which we started in the early '90s. We were one of the first counties using automation. 

When I ran for office, I ran on a platform of customer service but also on technology. I think we are now using technology to improve efficiencies throughout our office. We won dozens of awards, including nine national awards and 13 state awards for best practices. 

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

I think the biggest challenge in Collin County is that we’re a large county — the population is exploding — so we need to expand services. Doing that while also being more efficient and effective as possible is a challenge. 

If I was asked, I would tell the new clerks to reach out to the seasoned clerks to get their input. They’ll support you and help you get it through legislation. TAC and the Clerks’ Association are both great resources — so use them!

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

I’m most proud of all the technology we’ve been able to incorporate. And my staff — if I didn’t have a great staff that welcomed change, it would have been so much more difficult. But I have a staff with an open mind and willingness to try new things.

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

We use social media a lot and the local news organizations. We also reach out to the hospitals and other community organizations both in person and through printed materials. I make a lot of presentations throughout the county to spread the word about new programs or processes. This is how we get buy-in from the community before even launching anything new. Once there is a new initiative in place, the public is already onboard.

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

I have been married for 20 years and have three grandchildren: a two-year-old and a set of eight-month-old twins. Family is everything. I also like to travel, cook and garden. Maybe one of the things people would be surprised to know about me is that I love to scuba dive. 

What is your favorite thing about Collin County?

It has a hometown feel to it even though it is a large county. I love that about it. I grew up here and love it. Like our county motto says, “It’s a great place to live, work and raise
a family.”