Executive Director's Report

Board President Renee Couch’s optimism, teamwork helped steer TAC through the pandemic

By Susan M. Redford, Executive Director

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On the surface, it might appear an example of bad luck and bad timing: Comal County Treasurer Renee Couch's two-year term as President of the Texas Association of Counties' Board of Directors coincided with the coronavirus pandemic. However, it was TAC’s good fortune that Renee was Board President when COVID-19 hit.

Renee's term as president ends Dec. 31. She has been a continuous source of support and guidance for our members, Board, employees and me during an unprecedented time.

What we all thought would be a short shutdown in March 2020 to "flatten the curve" turned into an enduring challenge that continues to test us all — professionally and personally. Good leaders rise to meet difficult situations. With Renee's positive outlook and with collaboration her guiding value, TAC responded to the threat of COVID-19 by quickly adapting our operations to keep delivering the many services our members count on.

Renee chooses to see problems as opportunities. Whether leading directly or indirectly, she has helped TAC grow even stronger during the pandemic. We may have been forced to do things differently, but we never missed a beat.

On the policy front, Renee has helped strengthen TAC's relationship with the National Association of Counties (NACo). Increasing TAC's partnership with NACo was a priority of Renee's when she was sworn in as TAC president in January 2020. The success of the outreach was evident in early September when NACo President Larry Johnson, a commissioner in DeKalb County, Georgia, Immediate Past President Gary Moore, County Judge/Executive in Boone County, Kentucky, and CEO/Executive Director Matthew Chase attended TAC's 2021 Legislative Conference.

Just as TAC seeks to strengthen and unite Texas counties and improve the public's understanding of county government, NACo works to do the same at the national level. Renee understands that NACo, as Tarrant County Judge B. Glen Whitley once described it, is an extension of TAC in Washington and all Texas counties benefit when we are well-represented nationally.

Thanks to TAC's increased involvement in NACo, a growing number of Texas elected county officials are members of NACo policy committees. Renee herself holds a leadership position on NACo's Environment, Energy and Land Use Steering Committee and served on NACo's Broadband Task Force, which Wise County Judge J.D. Clark co-chaired. In July, the task force released a report highlighting ways to ensure every community has reliable broadband internet. The report is an important template for county governments.

I am honored to have worked by Renee's side the past two years. On behalf of the staff at the Texas Association of Counties and our members, thank you, Renee, for your friendship and leadership.

There's no shortage of great leaders in Texas counties. Tom Green County Auditor Nathan Cradduck will become TAC's new Board President in January. We look forward to a
great 2022.

This is County magazine's final issue of the year. We wish you Merry Christmas and a safe and joyous holiday season. Thank you for placing your trust in us and thank you for remaining #254Strong!