New chief appointed in tax office
By Steve Herring
Published in News on August 7, 2014 1:46 PM
Alan Lumpkin has two milestones to celebrate today.
First, it's his 51st birthday, which has its positives and negatives.
Second, he is the county's new tax administrator.
The Wayne County Board of Commissioners appointed Lumpkin to the new job Tuesday. He replaces David Ward, who retired earlier this month after a 40-year career with the county.
Lumpkin is not new to the tax office. He has served for a decade as the county's assistant tax administrator and has been interim administrator since Aug. 1.
County Manager George Wood said during the commission's meeting Tuesday that an opening like this is usually advertised and then a search conducted for a candidate for the job.
But when those charged with finding Ward's replacement started looking, they realized that they had a well-qualified applicant already in the office.
"It is the recommendation of that group that we have one of the best people we could possibly have, ready to go, who is already our assistant tax administrator," Wood said.
Wood praised Ward's management skills, saying that a trait of a very good manager is having someone in place and ready to go so that when they retire, it is a virtually seamless transition.
That is the case in the tax office, he said.
Lumpkin, whose salary will be $79,327, will complete Ward's current term, which ends June 30, 2015. That will be followed by a full, four-year term ending June 30, 2019.
Lumpkin is a Grantham native and a 1981 graduate of Southern Wayne High School. He earned an associate degree in accounting from Wayne Community College.
He and his wife, Patsy, who works at Cherry Hospital, have a son, Eric, 23, who lives in Raleigh.
Lumpkin had been working at a textile company before joining the tax office, but realized the industry was fading and decided to look for other employment.
"I saw an ad (for the tax office) in the paper," he said. "I had never done any appraisal work in my life. It looked like something I would like to do. I like to go outside. I love number crunching. So I applied for it."
He applied for other jobs as well. It was about six months later when Ward called and offered him the job in December 1991.
He became the appraisal supervisor the following year and was promoted by Ward to assistant administrator in 2003.
Lumpkin said he hasn't decided if he will move into Ward's former office. After all, he has been in the same office for 20 years.
"It is kind of like home," he said.
He will still have to keep his eye on new legislation that could affect tax laws, however.
The tax office has a good staff that does its job and looks after him, Lumpkin said.
"They try to help the citizens, and that is what we are here for. I enjoy my job. I have never thought about pursuing anything else really. I am very satisfied here, and I enjoy meeting the people."
A new assistant tax administrator is planned, but Lumpkin said he has not gotten that far yet.
"I am not going to rush into anything," he said. "I want to look at the office. With the vehicle change (paying the registration and tax at the same time), we may need some shifting of duties and cross-training going on.
"I definitely in the future will want an assistant. It is also good to have somebody. I could get hit by a bus, so it is good to have someone who can keep the taxes rolling."
Much has changed during his time with the tax office, but there is one aspect of the job that won't, especially since he is now the boss.
This is no 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., 40-hour a week assignment.
Lumpkin said he is often stopped while out shopping or eating and asked tax questions.
But that is just part of the customer service focus that Ward established in the office, he said.
"I just look forward to continuing the tradition," he said.