Smithfield Herald

County tax administrator to retire

Pat Goddard, Johnston County’s tax administrator, is retiring at the end of the year.
Pat Goddard, Johnston County’s tax administrator, is retiring at the end of the year.

Johnston County’s tax administrator is retiring after 12 years on the job.

Pat Goddard, who lives near Clayton, announced her retirement at the November County Commissioners’ meeting.

Goddard, 56, chose to retire so she could work part-time in her husband’s law firm, Goddard & Peterson, in Raleigh. She also plans to spend more time at the couple’s log cabin in the mountains and with her mom and two dogs.

Goddard will retire Dec. 31. Sheila Garner, the county’s real estate manager, will succeed her. Garner has been with the county for more than 25 years.

Goddard said her husband recently asked if she would work with him.

“So I thought about it, and that wasn’t the first time he had asked me if I could come and go to work, and I just decided it was time,” she said. “I actually kind of surprised myself that I decided to go ahead and retire.”

Goddard has 32 years of tax-administration experience in counties across the state. She said her time in Johnston County had been filled with a supportive working environment and a healthy tax base.

“The people of Johnston County are really good people, and I will miss working with them,” she said. “When people talk about what a great collection rate we have, that’s due to the people of Johnston County coming in and paying.”

Goddard said she is most proud of her department’s reputation in the community.

“We have a good reputation for excellent customer service, and that is a goal that I share with the Board of County Commissioners,” she said. “I think it’s important when a citizen comes in that they be treated in a friendly manner and, of course, in a fair manner.”

Goddard said she was proud also of shepherding the county through two property revaluations, in 2003 and 2011.

Goddard said she feels comfortable leaving the department in Garner’s hands. The two have been working together to make the transition smooth, she said.

Jeff Carver, chairman of the Board of County Commissioners, said he was sad to see Goddard go but also happy for her. He said Goddard didn’t inherit a customer-friendly tax office.

“She’s transitioned and transformed that into customer service and the friendly place it should be,” Carver said. “No one likes to pay taxes, but everyone recognizes the fact that we have to pay taxes to keep the government going.

“She has the innate ability to tell people sometimes not what they want to hear but in a way that they understand and appreciate it,” Carver added.

County Manager Rick Hester said Goddard has been a joy to work with, and he, too, praised her focus on customer service. He said her work keeping the tax-collection rate high had helped the county improve its bond rating.

“I wish her the very best in her retirement,” Hester said.