Smyth adjusting to retirement after 18 years serving Crenshaw County

Published 5:54 am Thursday, May 11, 2023

By Haley Mitchell Godwin

Crenshaw County Administrator David Smyth retired in March after 18 years of dedicated service to the citizens of Crenshaw County. 

Smyth is still trying to find his groove when it comes to really enjoying his newfound free time, but said getting to play golf again is something he hopes to do now that he is no longer part of the 9-4:30 crowd at the courthouse.

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 “I want to take golf back up,” Smyth said. “I miss it. I played golf in high school and in college and it was a hobby until the nerve that controls how I move my foot was cut when I broke a disc in my back. I have only tried to play once or twice since my surgery but now I might have time to work on adjusting my swing to accommodate once I get through all the retirement paperwork.”

Smyth, who joined the commissioner’s office as administrator in 2005, worked with five different county commissions during his tenure. Charlie Sankey, Jr. is the only Commissioner to serve throughout Smyth’s 18-year term, having served three terms as Chairman.

As administrator, Smyth worked closely with the commissioners on various courthouse renovations, several road and bridge projects, and 11 Community Development Block Grants. Smyth was also responsible for implementing a direct deposit program for employees, a temporary premium pay program, and many long-term bond issuances.

First on Smyth’s retirement to-do list was to tackle items he’s been putting off due to lack of time, things like household paperwork, taking care of health insurance changes, and getting retirement documents in line.  According to Smyth, the paperwork and red tape that comes with this stage of life has been a bigger hassle than he thought it would be.

The county held a retirement reception for Smyth on March 31 to honor his long-term commitment to public service. Smyth’s successor, Dawn Rayborn gave a welcome on behalf of the Crenshaw County Commission office and expressed her gratitude for what she has learned from Smyth. 

“David will be greatly missed here in the courthouse,” Rayborn said. “I have personally worked under him for 16 of his 18 years as administrator. I am excited to be taking his place but I sure have some big shoes to fill and am eager to put the things I’ve learned from over the years to use.”

Also present to share a few words about Smyth were the commissioners and their wives, along with Smyth’s wife Becky, daughter Courtney, and brothers Mark and Randy. 

Dustin Retherford, Congressman Barry Moore’s assistant, presented Smyth with a resolution adopted by the United States House of Representatives. Smyth expressed his gratitude during an emotional farewell and thanked office staff for their hard work in preparing the event, saying he felt confident he was leaving the County in good hands.

During Smyth’s farewell, Crenshaw County Commission Vice Chairman Raymond McGough presented a resolution praising Smyth’s excellent service and highlighting his accomplishments. 

As administrator, Smyth also implemented a direct deposit program for employees, a temporary premium pay program, and many long-term bond issuances. Despite numerous challenges, Smyth takes pride in the fact that there were never any problems with audits during his tenure.

 “During the 18 years I worked for the County, one thing that I am most proud of and that stands out the most to me, is that we never had a finding or a problem with any audits,” Smyth said.  “The State of Alabama Examiners of Public Accounts  division was always very complimentary of my office and staff on doing our jobs and doing them correctly while being good stewards of the taxpayer’s money.”

Although there are indeed a lot of loose ends that have to be tied up before he can really enjoy his retirement, Smyth said that the real fun will start when his wife Becky, with whom Smyth tied the knot with 36 years ago, retires from her job of over 40 years with First Citizens Bank of Luverne. 

Items on the Smyth’s agenda include spending more time with their Daughter Courtney, a third-grade teacher at Troy Elementary, attending concerts starting with James Taylor followed by Jackson Brown, and doing some light traveling.