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Tax Commissioner Gary Wood celebrates retirement

LaGRANGE – After 16 years of hard work for Troup County, Tax Commissioner Gary Wood celebrated passing the torch to a new commissioner and his years of service with friends, family and coworkers at a celebration on Friday.

Wood initially was elected to serve as tax commissioner in 2000 – taking office in 2001 – and has served four terms on the job. He has spent that time earning the respect of his peers and the community by making the process of collecting taxes in the county more organized and efficient.

“The office that I took over – that I’m leaving – is not the office that was there when I took office,” said Wood. “We made many changes. Collections are the best in the state of Georgia. We run on less employees then other counties our size. All my staff is cross-trained. We’re up to date technology-wise – credit cards, computers, anything that makes us more efficient, those changes we’ve made.

“And the most important to me is customer service. It has been my number one priority for 16 years, and the public knows that, and I think that’s why they elected me to office four terms. The memories have been good, and I’ll miss it.”

People familiar with Wood’s work expect for the changes that he has made while in office to continue to have positive effects in the tax office for years to come, even when the new tax commissioner, Shane Frailey, takes office in January.

“I thank Mr. Wood for leaving me in the shape that Troup County is in,” said Frailey. “I’m going to continue to do the job… The county is in good shape. Taxes are being collected as they should, and we are going to continue to do that. My deal is public service is number one, and I’m very excited to come in Jan. 1.”

Likewise, his staff was sad to say good bye to the friendly face that made something as dry as taxes enjoyable for the people in his office.

“He is definitely all business, but he does know how to have fun, so that has helped me with what could be a tedious job and made it enjoyable,” said Renee Hinale who worked with Wood for 10 years.

Overall, Wood said he was thankful for the ability to serve as tax commissioner and proud of what he has accomplished while in office.

“I do want to thank the citizens of Troup County first and foremost for supporting me,” said Wood. “It’s been a great honor… The office is in great shape. I think they know that, and I’m going to miss being here, but a man just knows when it’s time to go, and it’s time to go.”

Wood expressed his gratitude to the community, everyone at his office and the county commissioners for their hard work and support over the years.

“We’re real proud of Gary (Wood),” said Sheriff James Woodruff. “… I hope he really enjoys his retirement, and I hope he stays busy doing something he wants to do.”

Wood plans on a quiet retirement with his family and is excited to have some time with his wife, Joyce Woods, who he has been married to for 25 years.

“What I’m going to do is whatever my wife wants me to do,” laughed Wood. “I’ll play golf, and I’ll probably piddle on the farm some more, and do a little traveling and try to enjoy life.”

 

Reach Alicia B. Hill at alicia.hill@lagrangenews.com or at 706-884-7311.