Texas County's election authority resigned Wednesday. Laura Crowley is pictured with the state's secretary of state, Jay Ashcroft, during a visit to Texas County. Credit: FILE PHOTO

Texas County Clerk Laura Crowley resigned Wednesday morning after months of turmoil at the Texas County Administrative Center, where the generation of tax bills in the county has grinded to a halt and questions remain about the administration of a Nov. 2 court-ordered election.

Crowley presented a one-sentence letter that reads: “Due to health reasons, I, Laura Crowley, resign my position as County Clerk, effective immediately.”

Laura Crowley, who resigned Wednesday.

Members of the Texas County Commission are consulting with legal counsel and the Missouri secretary of state’s office this afternoon. A priority is to appoint an interim successor. That could occur as soon as Thursday, Presiding Commissioner Scott Long said.

The resignation wasn’t a total surprise. Two vehicles — including Crowley’s car — were seen being loaded Tuesday evening behind the Grand Avenue building.

Crowley, a Republican, was voted in a special election in 2016 to become county clerk. She defeated Kris Neal, who was appointed by Missouri’s governor after the death of Don Troutman in 2015. Neal was a long-time deputy to Troutman.

A nursing school graduate, Crowley was re-elected in 2018 to a four-year term that expires Dec. 31, 2022.

Whoever fills the job will have an immediate critical task: Transferring data from the clerk’s office to the collector’s office so that more than 30,000 tax bills will eventually arrive. Normally those land in mailboxes around Nov. 1.

On the election, Houston Rural Fire Association members were to vote Nov. 2 on a measure to create a taxing district rather than collect annual membership dues. A new election was ordered in July by Circuit Judge William Hickle after questions arose whether an April election had been properly administered. The measure lost. A recount was ordered, but it also showed that the election had narrowly lost. Absentee balloting was to have started Sept. 21 with the county picking up the tab of the election. Ballots, as of Tuesday, were not available.

A single employee will remain in the county clerk’s office. An accounts payable clerk, in an unrelated move to the clerk’s departure, also has told the county commission he is leaving.


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