Retired Okmulgee County Treasurer ready for family time
June 30 marked the end of service for longtime Okmulgee County Treasurer Vonna Lampkins. She was honored with a reception last week, and on Monday, officially handed over the reins to the new treasurer, Lindsay Bunch.
Lampkins a native of Okmulgee County, started working at the Okmulgee County Courthouse in July 1993. However, her journey to that historic building ac- tually began a few years earlier.
“I worked in the school system out at Nuyaka for 17 years,” Lampkins said. She explained that years ago, there was actually a county superintendent overseeing the schools, and the Okmulgee County Treasurer’s Office handling the various school funds.
“I would bring in our payroll and accounts payable to her (Phyllis Stephens who was serving as treasurer) for her to do,” Lampkins. She added Stephens would ask her numerous times if she was ready to come to work in her office, but the timing wasn’t right at that time.
When changes took place in the way state schools operated, she told Stephens, “I’m ready, are you hiring?”
Lampkins went to work there in 1993, serving under Stephens for six years. In 1999, after Stephens decided not to run again for office, she asked Lampkins about replacing her. Stephens asked Lampkins to promise one thing ‘don’t be like some past treasurers, and retire after six years, and then walk out.’
“When I take a job, I’m dedicated to it,” Lampkins said. She has kept that promise.
She was sworn in in 1999 as Okmulgee County Treasurer, having not drawn an opponent for the election.
Lampkins went on to serve for 24 years as the county treasurer, for 30 years inside that department. She also worked in the court clerk’s office, and with her work with the school system, she has 36 years of working for the community.
Lampkins’ family and extended family includes her son Jason, along with grandchildren and great grandchildren; a sister and her children and grandchildren, and a brother.
She has lived in Okmulgee County for some 60 years, graduating from Beggs High School in 1969.
Lampkins attended Oral Roberts University, majoring in Business Administration and Elementary Education. She has been a member of County Officers and Deputies Association; served on OSU Treasurer’s Educational Training Advisory Board and also the Board for the N.E. District County Treasurer’s Association.
Through the years, Lampkins has worked alongside different county officials, each with their way of conducting business.
The key to a great team is employees, and Lampkins credits several who have helped her over the years, such as Genny, who worked in the office for almost 18 years; Latrice, 15 years; Trish, 13 years; and also several newcomers who she says are ‘quick learners’ and will do very well, Lampkins added.
Technology has changed over years and Lampkins and her staff have strived to keep up with the changing times. The staff is extremely busy from December through January, as taxes are being paid.
“But there never is any down time,” she said. “We are always busy, like with delinquent taxes.”
The Treasurer’s Office also keeps busy with property sales and other business, while also undergoing training to keep the department up to day.
So what’s next for Lampkins?
“Well, you know my life has been dedicated to Okmulgee County,” she said. “I have not experienced my granddaughter, and her years growing up and things that she has done in school. I really haven’t gotten to do anything so I’m planning on doing a lot more things, like more time watching my great granddaughter and some family time. Right off number one is family time. That’s one of my biggest regrets, is losing Jerry and not having that time (to spend with family).”
With a new vehicle in her possession, she plans to visit her sister in Texas, and maybe do a little traveling. First, she has a lot of work around her home to take care of, but once that’s done, “I’m going to do some things … I’m going to have a life.”