Monday, May 20, 2024

County Clerk Katie Lang announces resignation

Posted

After almost a decade of serving as Hood County clerk, Katie Lang officially announced her resignation effective Friday, May 3.

“I want to personally thank all the citizens of Hood County for trusting me as your elected official,” Lang stated on social media April 10. “I am honored to have served with some amazing people in the community. I will be retiring May 3. As Mike and I look forward to the next chapter in our life, I will look back proudly on what my office has accomplished during my service. I can’t wait to see what God has planned for us next!”

During Lang’s nine-year stint as clerk, the Hood County Clerk’s Office (HCCO) was presented with repeat notable honors when the office continued to earn the Five Star Award for 2023 from the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The latest award was presented to the HCCO Dec. 21 last year for its excellence in vital statistics and for going above and beyond to ensure excellent customer service, security and data quality in Texas.

Lang previously told the HCN that the HCCO had received the Five Star Award every year since she assumed the position of county clerk nine years ago.

"I'm very proud of my clerks and how hard they work to provide excellent customer service to the citizens of Texas,” Lang previously told the HCN. “They must be very knowledgeable on the variety of products we offer, and they must always follow the Texas State statutes. Their customer service is not only heartfelt but usually puts a smile on the customers’ face. The future looks bright, and we hope to keep the citizens as our most important partner in the days ahead.”

Lang was elected Hood County clerk Jan 1, 2015 — but her long-term stint in the position was not without controversy.

In July 2015, Lang made national news over her refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses on religious grounds. Lang ultimately allowed a staffer in her office to issue the licenses, but by then, a lawsuit against the county had already been filed. The commissioners court settled the lawsuit for $44,000, with the county and Texas Association of Counties splitting the cost.

The county clerk also clashed with members of the public in commissioners court and with Hood County Judge Ron Massingill within the past two years due to a software controversy.

According to previous articles in the Hood County News, Lang and Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Dub Gillum halted the conversion of their offices to a new software program in 2022, which resulted in the county paying an unexpected invoice totaling $220,750.

Lang and Gillum previously said the process of switching from NetData — which had served them well — to Tyler Odyssey had been extremely difficult and problematic for their offices.

At the end of a lengthy meeting in November 2022, the pair agreed to work with the county in hopes of reducing the added costs caused by their previous decision to halt the conversion. However, the county judge and commissioners paid the bill after determining that doing so was unavoidable.

Lang was also the subject of social media discussion late last year when it was revealed that she and her husband Mike had purchased property in Florida.

Following the last Hood County Commissioners Court meeting April 9, Massingill told the HCN that Lang handed each commissioner a letter of resignation stating that she would be resigning as of May 3.

Massingill said Hood County HR Director Melissa Welborn posted the available position on the Hood County website Wednesday, April 10.

“(Welborn) takes applications for the county clerk of Hood County and from those applications, the majority of the commissioners court will appoint somebody to be the county clerk until the November election, because the county clerk has to run for reelection in November,” Massingill told the Hood County News. “Whoever we appoint will be on the November ballot and they will take office Jan. 1. That’s the procedure.”

Massingill stated that as of April 16, 15 applications had already been received for the county clerk position.

"From those applications — and if a commissioner has someone they can nominate, we’ll vote on them too — it will be an interview process and then the majority of the commissioners court will vote on the interim clerk (who will serve) until the November election,” he said.

According to the release from the HR department, the clerk of a county court shall be a resident of Texas for at least 12 months and Hood County for at least six months. The clerk of a county shall also be registered to vote in the area of office.

The Hood County clerk:

  • Serves as clerk and custodian of records for the commissioners court, constitutional county court and statutory county court.
  • Acts as a recorder and custodian of important public records, including all bonds, deeds, birth and death certificates, assumed names and livestock brands, ensuring that records are maintained in a secure, archival manner.
  • Issues marriage licenses.
  • Services as chief elections officer in most counties.

Resumes for the Hood County clerk position should be sent to the Hood County Judge office at massingill@co.hood.tx.us.

The Hood County News reached out to Lang for comment but she did not respond by press time.