Smith County Clerk Karen Phillips praised her Vital Statistics Department Tuesday for receiving the 5-Star Exemplary Award for outstanding achievement from the Texas Department of State Health Services, Vital Statistics Unit.

She recognized the department’s employees for their work during the Smith County Commissioners Court on Tuesday, July 25, 2017

“This marks the sixth year in a row for the Smith County Clerk’s Office to claim the 5-Star award, with four of those years being the prestigious 5-Star Exemplary award,” Mrs. Phillips said. “Although there are 254 counties in Texas, there are 325 Local Registrars in the State, with only 21 receiving the 5-Star Exemplary Award this year.”  


The award was presented to Mrs. Phillips’ office at the 63rd Annual Texas Vital Statistics Conference, held December 6-9, 2016, in Austin.


“Our Vital Statistics Department consists of two ladies, Jimmie Alaniz and Brenda Folmar, who have excelled in their field of expertise, organizing and streamlining the processing of our records in Vital Statistics. They have done an outstanding job and continue to go above and beyond providing fast, efficient records service for our customers and to the State,” Mrs. Phillips said. “Not only are these ladies responsible for these awards but there are a host of back up deputy clerks who work in the department working to achieve excellence in their department on a daily basis, which has allowed our office to obtain this award for six years straight. Our back up Vital Statistics clerks are Rebecca Felton, Veronica Arteaga, Nathaniel Fields, and Robin Holland.”


In order to meet the requirements for the Exemplary 5 Star Award, which has been given out since 2005, the Smith County Clerk’s office monitors the Texas Electronic Registrar, works with local funeral homes and justice of the peace offices on a daily basis to achieve timely reporting of all deaths and births in the county.

Other guidelines were achieved by informing medical certifiers and justice of the peace offices of the law regarding the use of the Texas Electronic Registrar, completing an annual survey, and attending at least two training conferences annually.


“I’m so overly proud of the work each of these deputy clerks do for the office,” Mrs. Phillips said. “Each one of these amazing people have a strong desire and unending drive to achieve the highest available award each year and I’m astounded at their ability to do all they do. I love each and every one of them and they are so deserving of this honor.” 


An additional distinction was obtained this year for the county clerk. Deputy Clerk Brenda Folmar was awarded the honorable (MRC) Master Registrar Certification Award. With the number of clerks in the state only a handful are accepted into this program. On average, about 25 MRC graduates complete the course each year, with Mrs. Folmar being one of them. 


“Congratulations goes to Brenda Folmar for her hard work,” Mrs. Phillips said. “We’re so proud of her and her accomplishments. Brenda’s Master Registrar Certification Plaque received at the December 2016, Annual Conference is proudly hanging in her department, along with all the aforementioned awards.”