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County judge elected to regional office

By Kristen Tribe | Published Wednesday, October 10, 2012

County Judge Bill McElhaney represents Wise County not only in the courthouse, but also as a board member, and now an officer, of the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG).

The judge was elected secretary-treasurer of the organization this summer – a first for Wise County.

“It’s an honor to be able to do this, and for Wise County to be represented among these 13 [directors],” McElhaney said. “This (position) will give me firsthand knowledge, and I can be more involved in what’s going on.”

McElhaney served as a director for 2010-11 and 2011-12 before being elected to an office at NCTCOG’s 46th annual general assembly in June. Once elected secretary, officers rotate through the offices until they reach the presidency.

McElhaney will serve as secretary-treasurer for 2012-13, vice president for 2013-14 and president in 2014-15.

NCTCOG President Bobbie Mitchell, a Denton County commissioner, who has also worked with McElhaney in the Texas County Judges and Commissioners Association said McElhaney is a natural for the NCTCOG post.

“He’s innovative, and he doesn’t mind putting himself out there for something,” she said. “We work together in deciding regional issues for our cities.”

McElhaney said 60 to 70 percent of the counties represented in NCTCOG are larger than Wise County, but many of their activities and decisions affect life here.

“It’s important to be involved … to be there and be a part of it,” he said.

McElhaney is also chair of the executive board audit committee and is a member of NCTCOG’s long range planning committee for 2012-13.

Other officers include President Bobbie Mitchell, a Denton County commissioner; Vice President Steve Terrell, mayor of Allen; Past President Linda Koop, a Dallas city council member; and directors Clay Jenkins, Dallas County judge; B. Glen Whitley, Tarrant County judge; Daniel L. Scarth, mayor pro tem of Fort Worth; Kathryn Wilemon, Arlington city council member; Lissa Smith, deputy mayor pro tem of Plano; Marcus Knight, mayor of Lancaster; A.J. Mathieu, Joshua city council member; Jared Patterson, mayor pro tem of Sachse; and State Rep. Jim Jackson, an ex officio member.

McElhaney said his position helps those people put a face with Wise County, and gives him the opportunity to get to know officials in neighboring counties while encouraging working relationships across county lines.

NCTCOG serves a 16-county region in North Central Texas and has more than 230 member governments. Membership is centered around Dallas and Fort Worth.

According to the NCTCOG website, the organization’s purpose is “to strengthen both the individual and collective power of local governments and to help them recognize regional opportunities, eliminate unnecessary duplication and make joint decisions.”

McElhaney is a graduate of the Commissioners Court Leadership Academy, sponsored by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service’s V.G. Young Institute of County Government, which is a two-year program.

He has been a fellow in the Texas Judicial Academy since 2007. The academy is a partnership between the Texas Tech University School of Law and the Texas Association of Counties. Fellows are those judges who attain “significant judicial education above that required by state law.”

McElhaney said other local elected officials have also served on a variety of regional, state and national committees.

“I appreciate all those elected officials that are participating,” McElhaney said. “It’s a benefit to Wise County and enables us all to have more knowledge.

“It gets us out of the box and into that bigger picture and gives more focus to not just where we’re at, but where we’re going.”

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