The Smith County Communications Office strives to promote transparency by providing the public with the most accurate, accessible and up-to-date information possible while promoting the county's brand and message of "Striving for Excellence."
Located on the first floor of the Smith County Annex Building
200 E. Ferguson, Suite 100
Tyler, Texas 75702
Email: Casey Murphy
Smith County Employee Recognitions
Smith County Tax Assessor-Collector Gary Barber sleeps well at night knowing Tara Yarbrough is his head bookkeeper of the county’s property taxes.
Mrs. Yarbrough was recognized in Commissioners Court on Tuesday, November 26, for 30 years of service to the Smith County Tax Office.
“My favorite part of working for Smith County is being able to interact with taxpayers from all walks of life and offering the best knowledge and service based on each taxpayers’ specific need or problem,” Mrs. Yarbrough said. “We listen, but we also follow the law. State tax laws and more specifically our Professional Tax Collector Code of Ethics guarantees that everyone be treated fair and equal. I also find great joy in coming to work every day to be among co-workers that accept each other as family.”
To say she is an asset is an understatement, Sharon Hinds, the Tax Office’s Chief Deputy, said. Tara is a team player and a pure joy to work with.
Mrs. Yarbrough started working for the Tax Office as a front counter clerk and a map researcher. For the past 22 years, she has been the head bookkeeper for the Property Tax Division.
“Mr. Barber always says that the reason he can sleep at night is because he knows Tara is the bookkeeper,” Ms. Hinds said.
Mrs. Yarbrough was nominated for employee of the year in 2011. She has been diligent in keeping up with her continuing education and certificates, Ms. Hinds said. She and her husband of 30 years, Lester, have three children and five grandchildren.
“I have had the extreme pleasure of working with her for the past 11 years,” Ms. Hinds said. “I am very proud of her and very happy to call her my friend.”
During her three decades at the Tax Office, Mrs. Yarbrough has worked for three Tax Assessor-Collectors, has seen the dress code go from dresses and pantyhose, to business casual and has witnessed many dramatic changes in innovation.
When she started in 1989, a large amount of the office’s oversized computer hardware was housed in the old Carlton Hotel. Printers generated more than 160,000 tax statements, that would then be gathered in boxes and brought back to the Tax Office to be separated by hand for mailing. Now, the more than 180,000 tax statements are all handled electronically.
The Tax Office also no longer houses large maps. All GIS is accessed through the Appraisal District website. Tax rolls are all electronic and online vs. large back-breaking books. Payments can now be made online vs. in office or by mail only. A host of other technological advances have also been made in the office.
The Tax Office has grown to include three satellite offices in Troup, Lindale and Noonday. The Tax Office collects taxes for 23 jurisdictions, allowing one bill for taxpayers.
Mrs. Yarbrough has no plans for “calling in retirement,” she said. “Mr. Barber knows he will be the third person in line for that information. God first, family second. I plan to enjoy my stay here and assist the taxpayers of Smith County for a little while longer.”
Verna Carroll was recognized in Commissioners Court on Tuesday for 20 years of service to Smith County.
She is a bond investigator in the Pre-Trial Services Department. Ms. Carroll interviews jail inmates and completes background investigations to report to the judges.
“She is really a joy to work with,” Pre-Trial Services Director Gary Pinkerton said. “She keeps us on our toes, we enjoy working with her, she’s always got a smile on her face.”
Pinkerton said they call her the “Queen of Wal-Mart” because of her part-time job there. “I guarantee you, everybody in Tyler, Texas and Smith County knows Verna Carroll and you can see she is always smiling.”
“Verna, we say thank you for your 20 years of service,” he said.
Cheryl Cardinal was recognized for five years of service to the Judicial Compliance/Collections Department. She works as a collections officer.
Collections Director Sheryl Keel said people tend to spend more time with their work family than they do at home, so she has gotten to know Ms. Cardinal well. Mrs. Keel thanked her for assuming leadership of her office when she was out for an extended period of time after a car wreck.
“Cheryl is committed, dedicated and takes the initiative to get a task complete,” Mrs. Keel said. “She is a valuable and loyal member of our family. Her enthusiasm is a personality trait that cannot be learned … Cheryl, thank you for bringing your best to work every day,” she said.
Other employees who are celebrating work anniversaries in November, but who were not in Commissioners Court, include:
20 Years: Anthony Railsback, Adult Probation
15 Years: Harold Johnson and India Samuels, Sheriff’s Office
5 Years: Haley Martinez, Auditors Office; Jennifer Black, District Clerk’s Office; Davis Woudwyk, District Attorney’s Office; and Maria Vallejo, Sheriff’s Office.