By Martin Slagter
---- — After spending nearly half of her life as an employee of Howard County, Jamie Shepherd-Bryant is ready for a new challenge.
Shepherd-Bryant stepped down from her position as the county’s assessor to accept the treasurer position at Northwestern School Corp., beginning April 28.
Shepherd-Bryant, who was up for re-election in the fall, will be replaced by Mindy Heady in an interim role in the coming months. With the support of the Republican caucus, Heady will run on the ticket this fall after serving as Shepherd-Bryant’s first deputy with the county.
“Sometimes we’re faced with opportunities that we don’t expect coming our way,” Shepherd-Bryant said. “This is one of those. I try not to make any decisions without seeking out God’s plan for me. This wasn’t necessarily planned, but this is a good time because my office is in a good place right now.”
Shepherd-Bryant was finishing out her second term as Howard County assessor. She began working for the county part time at the age of 18 and has been there ever since, taking a part-time job as an assistant to Martha Lake in the auditor’s office.
The memories she has accumulated won’t soon be forgotten, she said.
“I have an enormous amount of respect for my colleagues, office and employees,” she said. “We have encountered great success and have helped implement positive changes during some of the most difficult times.”
Shepherd-Bryant has worn a number of hats with the county in her 15 years of experience, serving as both the deputy auditor and chief deputy treasurer before successfully running for auditor.
During her time as assessor, she served on the assessor’s legislative committee. Shepherd-Bryant began the concept of cyclical reassessment in Howard County long before the state Legislature enacted such provisions, saving taxpayers more than $100,000 every four years.
Shepherd-Bryant successfully negotiated a nationally recognized settlement with General Motors, Delphi and Chrysler during the bankruptcy proceedings, recovering 100 percent of all taxes collected by the auto companies during a time when other states were settling for 10 percent.
She has audited and recovered more than $58 million in assessed value in under-reported business personal property.
At Northwestern, Shepherd-Bryant will serve the role of financial manager.
“I like to continue to learn and grow,” she said. “I think that’s what has helped me be the best assessor I could be is because of my diverse knowledge in the different areas of local government. I think I’m excited to branch out in another way.”
Lake said she is confident that Shepherd-Bryant will be successful in any endeavor she chooses to take on.
“She’s really dedicated to whatever she does,” she said. “She’s also dedicated to being a good mother. She finishes whatever she starts, there’s no doubt about it.”
Heady started working with the county in the treasurer’s office in 2005 before making the move to the assessor’s office in 2010 as real estate deputy.
“Right now I want to keep things running as well as they are right now,” Heady said.
Martin Slagter can be reached at 765-454-8570, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @slagterm.