Cindy Polley said "goodbye" to the Ellis County Clerk’s office during her retirement party Thursday at the Ellis County Women’s Building.

Polley has served as the Ellis County Clerk for seven terms – a total of 28 years. Texas State Senator Brian Birdwell remarked at how impressive of a commitment to public service that is from Polley.

“It’s hard to leave something that’s been your life for 28 years,” Polley remarked.

A fourth-generation Waxahachie native, Polley attended Waxahachie High School and Navarro Junior College before working for six years at the 5th District Court of Appeals in Dallas.

Polley was first elected as Ellis County clerk in 1990. Since then, she won six more terms before announcing her retirement in December last year.

“I met Cindy when I moved to Ellis County in ’98,” judge Cindy Ermatinger said. “She’s always been the county clerk. I’ve known of no other since I’ve lived in Ellis County.”

As county clerk, Polley had to keep records and proceedings of the county and the commissioners' court. She also recorded deeds, birth and death certificates, wills and issued marriage licenses.

“Under her leadership, the county clerk’s office successfully made the transition from an agency that reported all of the proceedings into a ledger by hand, to the one that utilizes the latest technology innovations,” Birdwell said.

Surrounded in a room full of judges, county commissioners, a State Senator and several other prominent community figures, Polley said she was overwhelmed at the presence. She said she was humbled knowing that she was part of Ellis County’s footprint.

“Being a part of the history of the county is so amazing,” she said. “Having access to all of the books and knowing that’s our history in dealing with the public was very, very special.”

One of several things Polley will miss about the position is her staff. County clerk-elect Krystal Valdez will take over Polley’s post in January, while Tina Chambers will continue in her role as assistant county clerk.

Polley said these women, as well as several others in the clerk’s office, have been instrumental to her success.

“All of the girls are wonderful,” she said. “It’s hard to make it out front very often. But I like to work that front line.”

While Polley expressed that she is sad to go, she said she also knows that it’s her time to leave. With two daughters and five grandchildren, she wants to be able to spend the time with them that she sometimes wasn’t able to while she was in office.

“You can’t do this if you don’t have the support of your family,” she explained. “I’ve known clerks over the years that didn’t really have much family. I don’t know how they really were able to do it. You have to have something that keeps you grounded. My family has kept me grounded all of these years.”

Overall, Polley said she is excited to close this chapter in her life and open the next one.

“The good outweighs anything that ever happened,” Polley said. “I won’t even say bad – anything that wasn’t good. Things were either good or better. Especially the people of Ellis County.”

Polley’s last day is Monday, Dec. 31.