Dianne Landers, who has spent 19 years solving problems and assisting people while being responsible for many administrative functions for the City of Thomson, is stepping down.
Landers, who was to retire as city clerk Dec. 31, yielded to a request to stay until Feb. 4 to ensure that her replacement, Lucretia Ferguson, who began Dec. 30, is trained in the wide variety of duties Landers performed. Ferguson was a deputy clerk in the McDuffie County Superior Court office. Landers also agreed to remain until her tenure as state president of the City Clerks Association ends in February.
The city clerk plays an important role in service to the mayor, the city council, the city manager and all city administrative departments and acts as the compliance officer for many statutes at local, state and federal levels. The clerk also administers democratic processes such as city elections and access to city records and documents.
Landers began her career with the City of Thomson in 1976 as an intern through the CETA (Comprehensive Employment and Training Act) program. She became the City fire department’s first secretary. When the City had a turnover in personnel, Landers became an assistant to Rosa Wilson, who was the city clerk. She left the position in 1982 for the U.S. Marine Corps and was in military service until 1988. When she returned to Thomson, then city clerk Audrey Eller asked Landers to return to city employment and take over the accounts payable department.
“This was the time when everything was done by hand. I actually put accounts payable onto the computer system,” she said. There was a succession of clerks through retirements and deaths and Landers was moved into the position of finance director. In 2005, become City Clerk. “I have been the city clerk since then,” she said.
Although her retirement date has moved from Dec. 30 to Feb. 4, Landers has entered the retired mindset. She is slowly clearing her office and mind of the day-to-day duties that have been a part of her daily scheduled for 19 years.
“The reason I am retiring is that it is time. It is time for a change. You shouldn’t die in a position,” Landers said. “I’ve seen the city, from doing everything by hand to automation. I have seen it all. It is time for someone else in this position.”
Retiring, she said, will allow her to be free from schedules and give her time to do what she wants when she wants. “I want to do some things for myself. I want to be able to go without filling out a request for leave. I want to be able to take my parents on trips to see things they have not see,” she said. “I am looking forward to traveling.” Her first post-retirement destination is Dubai, a city in the United Arab Emirates. “It has always been my dream place,” she said.
Landers enjoyed interacting with the people she met on behalf of the city. “The customers and interacting with them is what I will miss a lot; I will miss the customer relationships and the people I have met over the years,” she said.
“Disconnection of services day is what I will not miss,” Landers said. “I hate that time of the month because you see the worst in everybody,” she said.
Landers hopes that she was “a help” to the people she met through her tenure with the City of Thomson.
“I like the office manager part of the position and I will miss solving problems. I always thought of a way to help. I will miss that. It was a mission.”
The outgoing city clerk believes it will take a brief time to acclimate to not having to get up at 6:30 a.m. and sleeping in. She will periodically help her stepfather with his custodial duties at their church.