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Texas Association of Counties Elects New Officers

Friday, December 7, 2007
CONTACT: TAC Press Office at (512) 478-8753

Tarrant County Commissioner J.D. Johnson, a 29-year veteran of local government leadership, was sworn in Dec. 6 as 2008-09 president of the Texas Association of Counties (TAC). Johnson is in his sixth term as commissioner of Tarrant County Precinct 4 and also is currently president of the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas. He previously served as president of the West Texas County Judges and Commissioners Association and spent nine years on the Saginaw City Council, including six years as mayor. As a Tarrant County commissioner, Johnson is a leader on the issues of law enforcement, emergency response, health care and purchasing – all with an eye toward best serving the public while saving taxpayer dollars. In 1993, Johnson was the first county commissioner to ever receive a gubernatorial appointment to the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, where he served a six-year term, including as vice-chair, and brought the county taxpayers’ financial perspective to the important commission.

Roberts County Judge Vernon Cook was elected as president-elect during the Dec. 6 TAC board of directors meeting in Austin. Cook has served the Panhandle county as judge since 1991 and has a long history of public service. He previously was a Miami City Council member and member of the Miami Independent School District board of trustees. A former educator with a Masters degree from Texas A&M University, Cook taught vocational agriculture in the Miami district and also previously served as the Roberts County extension agent. He is heavily involved in water issues, serving on the Panhandle Water Planning Group, and has been president of the Panhandle Regional Commission and the West Texas County Judges and Commissioners Association.

Travis County Constable Bruce Elfant was elected TAC vice president. Elfant has served as constable of Travis County Precinct 5 since 1993, is a statewide leader in the field of child support enforcement and was a member of the Austin Independent School District’s task force on dropout prevention and reduction. He was president of the Justices of the Peace and Constables Association of Texas in 2001-02 and continues to serve on the association’s legislative committee. He previously worked at the Texas Attorney General’s Office and the Texas Legislative Council.

Along with the three officers, members of the 2008 TAC board of directors will be Taylor County Treasurer Lesa Crosswhite, Trinity County Judge Mark Evans, Haskell County District Attorney Michael Fouts, Lee County Judge Evan Gonzales, Coryell County District Clerk Janice Gray, Johnson County Judge Roger Harmon, Brazos County Sheriff Chris Kirk, Navarro County Justice of the Peace Connie Mayfield, McLennan County Commissioner Ray Meadows, Brazos County Clerk Karen McQueen, Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector Betsy Price and ex-officio members Brazos County Clerk Marc Hamlin and Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley. Hamlin and Whitley are the Texas representatives to the National Association of Counties (NACo). Two additional TAC board members, to replace Cook and Elfant as they move into their positions as TAC officers, will be named soon.

Johnson takes the presidential reins from Brazos County District Clerk Marc Hamlin, the 2006-07 president, who led TAC through the selection of a new executive director – Karen Ann Norris – after the death of Sam D. Seale in February 2007. Cook replaces Johnson, and Elfant replaces Carol Autry, who retired earlier this year as Randall County tax assessor-collector.

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