12/04/07 — County's senior center director now retiree herself after years of service

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County's senior center director now retiree herself after years of service

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on December 4, 2007 2:07 PM

Younger than many of the people she has spent the last 30 years serving, Yvonne McLamb nevertheless joined them among the ranks of the retired Friday as she stepped down from her position as director of the county Services on Aging Department.

"I have grandkids I want to spend time with and I want to help take care of my mother," she said. "I just decided it was the right time for me."

She also said that after almost three years as director and 10, off and on, with the department, she's accomplished all of the goals that she had set.

"I had certain goals I had set when I came, and the No. 1 goal was to get the senior center certified as a center of excellence and that was complete in October," she said.

She explained that the three-year certification not only shows the quality of Wayne County's program, but that it also will help the center -- located at 100 S. John St. -- gain extra funding.

Other accomplishments that she leaves behind include improvements in personnel and programs -- both in terms of quality and efficiency. Among the department's offerings are medication management programs, wellness and prevention programs, recreation and educational opportunities and individual and group services.

In fact, she said, really the only thing left undone is a new home for the center -- something she plans to continue lobbying for.

"The senior center has grown," she said. "We need a new center, and the county is working on that."

But because of her efforts, County Manager Lee Smith said he is confident that Ms. McLamb is leaving the department in better shape than when she arrived.

"She's done a phenomenal job," he said. "She came in and got the center, along with the staff, certified. I think she's brought us to a whole new level as far as our services are concerned."

Ms. McLamb, 56, began her career in public service as a social worker in Wilson County's Department of Social Services. From there, she came to work for Wayne County's Department of Social Services and eventually became the director of patient and family services at Wayne Memorial Hospital.

Then, in 1993, she joined the services on aging department as a health program coordinator and then as an information and assistance coordinator. After working for the department for several years, she then left, but returned in 2005 as director.

January, she said, would have marked her third year.

And while not coming into the office every day is going to be a change, she doesn't want Wayne County's seniors to think she is abandoning them.

"I don't plan to just quit. I plan to continue my involvement and volunteer. I'm a young retiree," she said. "I love aging people. They're about all I've ever worked with. I'm going to miss the people -- seeing them every day."

But, she added with a laugh, "I'm not going to miss budgets and audits."

She'll be replaced on an interim basis by Eryn McAuliffe, the current supervisor for in-home aid programs -- a free personal care service provided by the county to home-bound seniors.

Ms. McAuliffe has been with the department for three years.

"My entire career has been working with the elderly," she said. "I enjoy their life experiences and their perspectives on life. I love helping people and this one good way to do it."

And, with the county currently accepting applications for the position, Ms. McAuliffe has tossed her name in for consideration.

"I have applied," she said.

The goal, Smith said, is to have a new director in place by Jan. 1. But, he acknowledged that with the holidays that might be hard to do.

"February, worst case," he said. "But we should be in good shape until then."