Closing one set of books, she’s opening another …
After 24 years and four mayors, Lynda Vaughn is setting down the books and looking forward to spending more time with her grandchildren.
Vaughn, a long-time county employee of the finance department, will work her last day for Carter County on Monday, June 30.
She began her career with Carter County on Sept. 1, 1990. “I was hired by Truman Clark to fill in for a girl who was going on maternity leave,” Vaughn said. When the woman returned from her leave, Vaughn said she went to the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office and worked for Luther McKeehan.
“I was over there for about six months before the girl decided she wanted to stay home and be a mom, so Truman asked me to come back,” Vaughn said, adding that she has been working with the finance department ever since.
Vaughn, a Carter County native from the Stoney Creek community, graduated high school in 1970 and then attended Steed College in Johnson City, where she studied key punching. In the era before personal computers, key punching referred to the actual punching of holes in cards – called punch cards – to issue commands or store data in a mini or mainframe computer.
“That was in 1970 and computers were first coming into play,” Vaughn said, adding that things have changed dramatically over the years as technology has advanced.
Vaughn said she has always enjoyed working as a bookkeeper and working with budgets and accounting.
“I worked with the budget committee until just a few years ago,” she said. “That is something I really enjoyed even though it was controversial. I enjoy all aspects of my job.”
During her tenure with the county, Vaughn said she learned a lot. “I attribute most of what I learned in government to Truman,” she said.
On of her biggest learning experiences on the job was during the massive flooding in 1998 that destroyed parts of the county.
“I worked with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and TEMA (Tennessee Emergency Management Agency),” Vaughn said. “We worked 24/7, this office did, trying to get things done.”
She said she and other county employees also helped work with the local emergency personnel in relocating victims of the flood.
“At the end of the day you felt like you had accomplished something, like you had done something good,” she said.
During her time working for the county, Vaughn said she has gotten to know a lot of people.
“I will miss the people,” she said of her retirement. “Through the years there have been a lot of kind, sweet people who have passed through my life.”
There have also been fun times on the job, Vaughn said. She told a tale about something that happened when she was still working under Truman Clark.
“I used to have to go check the convenience centers. Truman would make me go once a month up to Roan Mountain and Elk Mills,” she said, adding that on this particular day she was at the Elk Mills convenience center and was concerned about the wildlife in that area. “All of a sudden, something cold goes up my dress tail and one of (the woman working at the center’s) dogs had stuck her nose up my dress tail.
“It scared me to death.”
Vaughn said they shared a good laugh about the dog scaring her.
Despite the good people, good memories and enjoyable work, Vaughn said she just feels like it is time for her to retire. Her husband, Tom Vaughn, retired in March of this year from his position as a Pal’s operator for the Pal’s location in the Mall at Johnson City.
“I am going home to play with my five grandchildren,” Vaughn said.