By Renee Couch, Comal County Treasure and TAC President
How long have you served as Comal County treasurer and why did you choose to get involved in county government?
I have served 12 years as Comal County Treasurer. As a vendor calling on the county, city and school districts of three neighboring counties, I saw first-hand the importance of keeping tax dollars safe by watching closely the spending of public funds. And when the opportunity to be appointed county treasurer became available, I was ready to say yes and serve.
As county treasurer, what has been your main priority, mission or goal?
As county treasurer it is most important to me that everyone from the taxpaying citizens, to the hardworking employees, to my fellow elected officials, know that the monies entrusted to us are safe. The No. 1 priority is accurate and transparent cash management. I want to be an important layer in the checks and balances of the county’s money.
What do you like best about your job? What is the most challenging aspect?
The best part of my job is the people and the most challenging part of my job is people. I think a lot of public servants feel this way. The employees of Comal County are some of the best and I love everyday being with my work family. I love serving the hardworking, culture-embracing citizens of Comal County. But at the same time it can be challenging when people have misconceptions or misunderstandings about government. I feel I am often defending local government, which I am happy to do. And of course, it is very gratifying to explain all the good local government does.
When you first became the county treasurer what were your interactions with TAC like? How did you get to know TAC?
One month into my appointment as county treasurer, I attended the treasurers’ annual conference and the keynote speaker for the conference was a speaker from TAC, Mark Warren. He spoke about working with other offices in the courthouse. And I thought, “Wow, there is much more to county government than just the treasurer’s office. I am part of a team.” And TAC always promotes the importance of being a team player.
Why did you decide to become more involved with TAC and serve on the Board of Directors?
In 2010 I was fortunate to be selected to participate in the TAC Leadership Program, which, to date, is the most impactful training I have received. The relationships I made with other Leadership participants are still invaluable today. I knew I wanted to go further with TAC and was appointed by the President of the County Treasurers' Association of Texas. It has been an honor representing the county treasurers on the TAC Board of Directors.
What have you learned or accomplished through your involvement with TAC?
I have a better understanding of collaboration and finding common ground. I have learned how important working together is in getting the outcome we need. It seems so simple, but it is the core of good government. Matter of fact, it’s the core for everything — our families, our offices, our church, our civic involvement and our community involvement. Collaboration and my involvement with TAC has taught me to communicate with everyone and be visible to everyone.
What benefits do you feel you’ve gained by becoming involved with TAC and the TAC Board?
The benefit of knowledge. My involvement with TAC has allowed me to learn and understand how all aspects of county government work. The mission of TAC is to unite counties to achieve better solutions. Being on the TAC Board allows me to learn and focus on county government as a whole. The Board’s main goal is to take care of the counties, the associations and the programs that service counties.
Do you have any goals or initiatives you’re planning to work on during the next two years as TAC’s president?
My goal for the next two years is for TAC to be more involved at the national level. We do such a great job offering resources, education, programs and services to counties in Texas. I know we can team up with fellow state associations to work on issues, such as mental health and broadband, that affect people across the country.
What aspects of the TAC presidency are you most looking forward to?
I am most looking forward to being political without being partisan. I love politics, but often the partisan aspect gets in the way. I am so happy that TAC’s focus is working for all counties in the state of Texas.
What hobbies or interests do you have outside of county government? What do you do in your free time?
My weekends and free time usually involve my husband of 27 years and my two daughters, who are both at Texas A&M. We love promoting our German heritage and culture through German festivals, the Sophienburg Museum and the New Braunfels food and music scene. I am involved with community service groups such as 100 Club of Comal County and United Way of Comal County.