March 21, 2014 12:32:47 PM
Nathan Gregory - [email protected]
Lowndes County purchasing clerk Terry Thompson is retiring at the end of this month after six years in that position and 30 years as a state employee.
Thompson began that career as a secretary for then Columbus Police Chief Charlie Watkins in 1985. Noting her experience with purchasing equipment for city law enforcement, then-Lowndes County Sheriff Ed Prescott hired her in 1995 as the purchasing clerk for his office. She carried that role with her to the position of county purchasing clerk in 2008. Purchases from all county departments, including equipment, supplies and services, have gone through her department since then.
County Administrator Ralph Billingsley said he is interviewing applicants to fill the position after Thompson leaves and will soon make a recommendation to county supervisors.
Thompson has done an "excellent job" of pinching the taxpayer penny while finding the best values for each county department materials so they can deliver the best services possible, Billingsley said.
"We've been able to buy things very efficiently for the taxpayers," he said. "She's been very organized and on top of all the details on a day-to-day basis. She's brought a professionalism to the department and really works well with the vendor community."
While Thompson works with all departments, she said she works most closely with county law enforcement and the road department to get state contract pricing on deputy cars and vests as well as limestone and asphalt. She said she tried to use purchasing funds as she would her own.
"I've really had a passion for trying to save the county money," she said. "It's my tax money. That's what my philosophy has always been. It's my tax money at work, too. I'm a thrifty spender and try to be intelligent when I make purchases, so I do the same thing with the responsibility I have as the purchasing clerk."
Thompson's last day is March 31. Her salary is $38,500.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.