Smith celebrated for 23 years of service to Liberty County

Joann Smith stands between the two Liberty County tax assessors who worked with her over the last 23 years. She started alongside former tax assessor Mark McClelland (right) and has worked with current tax assessor Richard Brown (left) for the last 11 years.

On the eve of her retirement, longtime Liberty County tax office clerk Joann Smith was celebrated and congratulated by her friends, co-workers and family at a party in her honor on Wednesday, Jan. 19, in the County Court at Law. Smith’s last day of employment is Jan. 31.

In her 23 years of service to Liberty County, Smith has worked for former tax assessor Mark McClelland and current tax assessor Richard “Ricky” Brown.

Smith and her husband of 44 years, Thomas, are planning to reside at their beach house in Crystal Beach, Texas, and are looking forward to traveling with Smith’s sister and husband. They also plan to maintain a small home in the Devers area.

As she is such an integral part of the tax office operation, Smith gave Brown plenty of notice of her retirement plans.

“When she decided to retire, I told her, ‘Okay, three more years,'” joked Brown. “Then she said, ‘No, six months.’ I said it was okay but that she needed to help me get ready. I asked her to go back to her office, sit down and write down all of the things she does for her job. Four pages later, she had written everything down.”

As Smith juggled many responsibilities at the tax office, Brown has now split these tasks among four different employees, though the majority will be shared by Chrissy Wiley and Sara Fore.

“It takes four people to do what she was doing alone. That pretty much sums it up. To her credit, her replacements are ready and are doing well,” he said.

McClelland added, “She has done a tremendous job for Liberty County. I would not go so far as to say she is an institution but when you glue things together the way she does, that is very memorable.”

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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