Greetings and Happy New Year!
I hope everyone had a good year in 2012. It is hard to believe that another year has gone by. On Jan. 2, Johnson County had its ceremony swearing in our newly elected officials. We had a good turn out from the community. I have always said that local government is the most efficient form of government. It was good to hear the comments made by each elected official. It was also nice to hear that God was part of their decision to run for elected office. It is humbling to be elected by the people of your community to represent them in local government. I hope each of you has a good year in your elected position.
Now that it is a new year, it is time to start the planning process for the goals that you might have for your county. I have always found it important to write out my goals for each year focusing on the direction of our county and where we may need to go. Johnson County, because of it being next to Tarrant County, is in a growth pattern, which calls for future planning, especially in regards to our road system. In addition, the court tries to survey the needs of future building so that we can keep up with this new growth. So remember that old saying, “fail to plan, plan to fail.”
The Legislature began its 83rd Session on Jan. 8. Commissioners court members will need to keep apprised of proposed legislation, as there will be many new laws proposed that will have a direct impact on local government. With that in mind, please stay in touch with your state representatives and senators. The relationships that you build with them can be extremely important in working with them on proposed legislation. Jim Allison, our legal counsel, has built good relationships with the senior legislators. If you have concerns with proposed laws, be sure to work with Jim or any of the officers of the County Judges and Commissioner Association of Texas.
I would like to remind everyone of the V. G. Young Institute of County Government School for County Commissioners Courts, which will be held at the Renaissance Austin Hotel Feb. 19-21.This is an excellent educational conference to attend. I always try to attend the educational conferences, as I know the knowledge gained can be of great value to me and my county. For example, during a past conference I attended a session where a representative from Tom Green County shared how the county was saving money on its indigent health care program. We implemented their way of running an indigent program, and it has saved our county a half-million dollars a year. Not only is the education beneficial, but it helps you fulfill your continuing education requirements.
I would like to close my comments talking about the importance of relationships, which are instrumental as we serve and represent those who elected us. As elected officials we are always under the microscope of the public, and public trust is the key to our success as we perform our jobs in our county government. See you soon…
– Roger Harmon, Association President