As one of Bartow County’s highest seniority employees, McMillan believes it is her duty to effectively communicate with the public while building trust between county government and residents.
Name: Lane McMillan
Occupation: Assistant county administrator
Family: Husband, Mike; daughter, Stephanie Shook and husband Matthew and children Matt and Madison; son, Michael McMillan and wife Melissa and son Levi.
Education: 1974 Cass High graduate
How long have you served as Bartow’s Assistant-County Administrator and what drew you to the position?
A: I began my career with Bartow County working part-time prior to graduation from high school for Commissioner Olin Tatum in 1973. After graduation in 1974 I became a full-time employee as a receptionist. Over the years I was given additional responsibilities and was appointed county clerk in 1989 under Commissioner Frank Moore. I was appointed assistant county administrator in 2000 by Commissioner Clarence Brown and re-appointed by Commissioner Steve Taylor.
You worked for a number of years under former Commissioner Clarence Brown and Former County Administrator Steve Bradley and now Commissioner Steve Taylor and County Administrator Peter Olson. How does having a sole commissioner and an Administrator affect your work within the county?
A: I have had the privilege of working under four Commissioners and three administrators. I personally support the sole commissioner form of government because I believe it is most beneficial to all the citizens of Bartow County. When I meet staff from other counties I hear complaints that boards do not get things accomplished, because of conflicts between board members. Some people argue that it gives one person too much power. With power comes responsibility and accountability to the citizens. Commissioner Taylor receives input from Peter, staff, department heads and others when making certain decisions.
There are various boards appointed by Commissioner Taylor representing different areas of the county to make recommendations. I am concerned that if you have numerous people making decisions they turn into politicians rather than responsible leaders. Sometimes decisions have to be made that are not always popular but it is the right thing to do. For example, Commissioner Moore established zoning in Bartow County which was controversial at the time, but few would want to live without it now. My role has been to provide support and to communicate with employees and the public regarding various issues.
What has been the largest change to the county’s operations since you began working there?
A: In the ’70s the focus was on roads. In fact the title for Commissioner Tatum was commissioner of roads and revenue. As time went by the emphasis turned to managed growth, adequate infrastructure, public safety, recreation, long range transportation planning; economic development.
The various applications of technology that has evolved in recent years enables all departments to operate more efficiently.
The ability to fund capital projects through the Special [Purpose] Local Option Sales Tax. Voters in Bartow County have supported this method since 1989 enabling the construction of numerous facilities, and infrastructure improvements, including water and sewer.
What do you believe is the greatest challenge the county faces?
A: As the county population continues to grow the challenge of maintaining and expanding services to our citizens will grow. As industry and businesses locate here it will be crucial to have a trained workforce. We are so fortunate to have the College and Career Academy, which provides students opportunities for a career path. With growth there is unfortunately an increase in crime. This will continue to be a challenge for law enforcement and our court system.
Is there an aspect of working in county government that you find most rewarding?
A: I enjoy working with not only the commissioner’s staff but all county departments. I have had opportunities to be involved with various projects through the years as well as represent Bartow County on various boards. I find it most rewarding to be involved in finding solutions for issues which ultimately result in benefitting the people of Bartow County and making this the best place to live and work.
If you had a dream job, what would it be?
A: I have a dream job. When I retire I would like to spend more time being involved with non-profit agencies in our county and I will have the ability to be more involved at Rowland Springs Baptist church where I am a member.
What is your greatest achievement?
A: I am part of a team that wants the best for our citizens. There will always be citizens who distrust anyone associated with government. I hope that during my career in my interaction with employees and the public that trust has grown. Sometimes the individual or group may not have liked the answer but respected the decision.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A: I do not enjoy sitting down and reading a book. I guess I want to be moving. When I do buy a book I always check out how many pages it has first. Pastor Joe Ringwalt challenged the congregation to read the entire Bible within a year. I’m working on it but will go ahead and confess I will not meet the deadline.
Do you have a personal motto?
A: Several years ago I heard this quote and it has stuck with me, “Most people don’t care what you know they want to know that you care.” Many times a member of the public or even an employee just needs to vent; they just want someone to listen to them. Unfortunately because of social media many people aren’t communicating. They are just sending and receiving information. Miscommunication or lack of communication creates problems that otherwise wouldn’t exist.
If you were to write your autobiography or memoirs, what would the title be?
A: I’m a taxpayer too!