2016 Tax Employee of the Year Award Recipient:
Penny Harrison, Surry County

Durham, NC – June 28th, 2016. Posted by Amanda Dillon.

Intro: During the North Carolina Tax Collectors’ Association (NCTCA) Spring Conference in New Bern, Penny Harrison of Surry County was awarded the 2016 Tax Employee of the Year. Harrison joined the Surry County Tax Office in 1998, accruing more than 18 years of experience in her field.

This award is presented annually in recognition of those who have demonstrated an exceptional performance in promoting improvements and enhancements to the area of tax collection techniques, a willingness to provide new and creative ideas to the area of tax collection, excelled in customer service to citizens, and motivated higher standards among peers.

Farragut spoke with Harrison to gain her perspective on this recognition from her peers and what it means to her. She also shared her personal best practices for a successful career in local government.

What inspired you to seek a position in the local gov tax industry & what are both the most rewarding and challenging aspects about your career in local government?

"It was a great opportunity. The office is continually changing and creating new challenges to overcome. It’s rewarding to know my opinions and ideas are depended upon by the Tax Administrator in order to enact policy and procedural changes. The biggest challenge is making the entire office work together as one unit."

What do you feel are your biggest accomplishments – both as Assistant Tax Administrator and throughout your involvement with NCTCA?

"The biggest accomplishment would have to be increasing the collection rate (for Surry County) at a steady pace, even if the face of a downturn in the economy and an increasing unemployment rate. I’m also proud of having met the educational components to be appointed, and then certified, as a County Assessor."

You played a huge role in organizing the 2016 NCTCA conference. Are you involved with any other tax association clubs or organizations? Are there accomplishments you would be willing to share?

"I’m also involved with the North Carolina Association of Assessing Officers and the Central Piedmont Tax Association. I have served on the NCTCA Conference Committee for 4 years, the NCTCA Certification Committee for 2 years, and the NCTCA Collection Manual Committee for 1 year. A huge accomplishment during my time in the NCTCA would be the implementation of an online, streamlined conference registration process through CVENT. We’ve also increased the presence of vendors at our conferences."

How does it feel to be recognized with this award by your peers for your dedication and hard work?

"I was very surprised and extremely honored."

What advice do you have for your peers who are looking to achieve similar success by also leading and providing high value to their jurisdictions as well?

"Treat everyone as you want to be treated, be fair to employees and patrons, and go the extra mile in your job; it will pay off in the end."