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Cathy Dyson writes about King George County. You can email her at cdyson@freelancestar.com.

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Lumpkin recalls her years of service

Photo by Cindy Miller

There were times when Faye Lumpkin never got away from her job as King George County’s commissioner of the revenue.

She’d be at church or in the grocery store when a resident spotted her. The conversation typically started with “I hate to bother you” and ended with a request.

Someone needed to make a change on a personal property tax form and asked if Lumpkin could take care of it. Or a resident had a state tax return to file and wondered if the commissioner would take the form to the office with her.

Lumpkin never said she was too busy or suggested the person use the mail. Instead, she smiled and probably said a kind word in her soft Southern drawl.

“I just thought it was part of the service,” she said.

Lumpkin, 65, will retire next month after 35 years in the office of the county’s commissioner of the revenue. She’s been commissioner since Jan. 1, 1988.

She was honored recently with a retirement party at Shiloh Baptist Church. About 100 people attended the event, organized by her staff of five full-time and one part-time workers.

When Board of Supervisors Chairman Joe Grzeika presented Lumpkin a framed copy of a resolution the board had passed in her honor, Grzeika said he’d never heard anyone say an ill word about the commissioner.

“It’s true,” said Jo Ann Ando, who will succeed Lumpkin. “I’ve been here 17 years, and I’ve never heard anybody say anything bad about her.”

Lumpkin is known for her understanding nature and ability to work well with taxpayers and fellow workers alike, Ando said. “We’ll miss her bright, shining face.”

Lumpkin never aspired to run the county office that handles personal property taxation and real estate assessments. Her team also maintains county tax maps, processes state income tax returns and administers taxes on meals and business licenses.

And that’s in addition to overseeing tax exemptions for the elderly, for disabled veterans and for land use.

Lumpkin and her husband, Bobby, and three children moved to King George from Essex County in 1970, so he could teach building trades at King George High School.

She was looking for a part-time job to supplement the family income when Warren Purks, commissioner at the time, encouraged her to apply for a post in his office.

She did, starting out as clerk and working her way up through the ranks.

Lumpkin admits she’s not a big fan of change.

“I’m not one to move around a lot,” she said. “I like stability.”

But as the General Assembly changed the tax code over the years and implemented new programs, those actions impacted county offices across the state.

Lumpkin changed with the times, going from manual typewriters and carbon paper to downloading records from other state departments in an instant via computers.

The workload also increased. In 1988, King George had 8,560 parcels of land requiring assessments and tax records. The current number is 12,688.

When Lumpkin took over as commissioner, the office oversaw 6,400 personal property accounts. Today, that number is 17,834.

But there is one aspect of technology that Lumpkin won’t embrace: texting on her cellphone. She’s not a big fan of that.

She has never sent a text, and doesn’t plan to start in her retirement. So it seems odd that, along with her Elvis statue and radio set to gospel music, there’s a poster in her office of a text message glossary.

“That’s kind of a joke,” she said, adding that she put it there to make her eight grandchildren laugh.

Lumpkin and her staff at her retirement ceremony.

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/kinggeorge/2011/11/22/lumpkin-recalls-her-years-of-service/