Williams ends assessor career
Clay County Assessor Jerry Williams will retire from office on Dec. 31 after serving in that capacity since 1989.
"I've enjoyed meeting and working with the people," he said.
Williams was elected 1988.
"That was the year we had early election. It was in March," he said.
After winning the election, Williams went to work in the Corning assessor's office. The assessor at the time was Berlyss Holifield, who did not seek re-election. Williams worked for Holifield during the remainder of the year and learned the office's responsibilities.
Like other offices in the courthouse, Williams said the biggest change in operations has been the installation of computers.
"We had to handwrite everything when I first came into office," he said. "Everything was done by hand and calculator."
The method by which records were filed was reorganized to have a taxpayer's data all located in one complete file rather than in separate files based on the calendar year.
Williams said all personal and real estate records are now completed on computer, and the tax books are also generated by computer. In addition, the office now has a direct link to the Arkansas Department of Finance, and the county will soon connect the Piggott and Rector offices through a computer network.
Williams said the state's tax laws change with each legislative session. He feels that, if individuals were more aware of "what's going on in Little Rock, they would have a better understanding" of how it impacts the operations of county government.
"County government should be taught in high school for one year," he said. "If it was taught, I think it should be mandatory that the kids have to take it."
Williams was born and raised near Gravel Hill west of St. Francis, the son of the late Wayne and Violet Williams. He was one of four children, the others being Leon Williams of Piggott and Billy and Lula Mae, who are both deceased.
His first year of school was spent at Star School with Vaneta Vines as his teacher and the second year was at St. Francis, where he was taught by Fern Looney. He attended Piggott High School through his junior year and then obtained his GED.
Williams went to work for the Piggott/Rector ambulance service in 1977 and worked there as an EMT for three years. He also served as a deputy sheriff with the Clay County Sheriff's Department for three years, being hired in 1982 by then-Sheriff Cloyce Pierce.
Williams and his wife, Eugenia, attend Shady Grove Missionary Baptist Church near Piggott and have three children Matthew, Chris and Kim.