County judge elected to regional office

By Kristen Tribe | Published Saturday, July 20, 2013

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County Judge Bill McElhaney was named vice president of North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) at its 47th annual general assembly in June.

Bill McElhaney

McElhaney, in his seventh year at the helm of county government in Wise, said he’s looking forward to stepping into the post.

“It’s a big honor for Wise County to have representation on the executive board,” he said, “and I feel privileged to represent our county.”

McElhaney served as secretary-treasurer last year, and he was an NCTCOG director for 2011-2012 and 2010-2011. Once elected secretary, officers rotate through the positions until they reach the presidency.

McElhaney is slated to be president in 2014-15. He also chairs the executive board’s audit committee and is a member of NCTCOG’s long-range planning committee.

The judge said his participation allows him to bring information directly back to Wise County.

“It allows us to have a say in issues and be a part of the decision-making process,” he said. “If there’s something that needs to be changed, this position allows me to express an opinion that might not otherwise be heard.”

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.”

“If you look at all the members, there are a lot of cities that are larger in population than our whole county,” McElhaney said. “But it’s not intimidating. It’s natural, and I enjoy it.”

He said he and NCTCOG President Steve Terrell, who is mayor of Allen, have similar public service backgrounds and share similar personal values and ideologies.

Other officers include Secretary-Treasurer Kathryn Wilemon, mayor pro tem of Arlington; and Past President Bobbie Mitchell, Denton County commissioner.

NCTCOG directors include Clay Jenkins, Dallas County judge; B. Glen Whitley, Tarrant County Judge; Vonciel Jones Hill, Dallas councilmember; Daniel L. Scarth, Fort Worth mayor pro tem; Lissa Smith, Plano deputy mayor pro tem; Marcus Knight, Lancaster mayor; A.J. Mathieu, Joshua councilmember; Keith Self, Collin County judge; and Dr. Larry Marshall, Benbrook city councilmember.

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, and he’s 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.”

He is also an active member of the Nor-Tex County Judges’ Association.

McElhaney received a bachelor of business administration degree in finance from North Texas State University in 1977 and served 21 years on the Bridgeport school board.


County Judge Bill McElhaney told the Messenger Thursday that he will seek a third term in office.

He said he plans to make an official announcement through the Republican Party in the next week or two. “I’m in the seventh year of an eight-year tenure, and it’s been an honor for me to serve folks,” he said.

McElhaney said he feels like a lot has been accomplished on his watch, but he has more work to do.

“If we look at what we’ve done, if we look at the list of the long-range planning committee, we’ve done a lot, but we’ve still got a ways to go,” he said. “I feel like I’ve got several things that we need to finish …”

McElhaney said it’s a “continuous education and a lot of hard work, but I’m at a point that it’s still exciting to me.”

The judge said he’s received phone calls from individuals and groups encouraging him to run again.

“I thought that was a good sign,” he said.

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