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Take 5 with Juanita Lashley

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By Brad Bowman

Basic bio

Eminence native.

Eminence High School graduate.

Work History

Belknap, Louisville secretary in Buying Department Four. Oct. 17, 1983 started in Henry County Clerks Office under Rhonda Carpenter.

Appointed to Henry County Clerk 2001.

What was it like

taking over as Henry County Clerk?

Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would be in this position. I had worked for Rhonda Carpenter for 18 years. She was a great person, mentor. I can’t say enough about Rhonda.

I was a nervous wreck. I’ve had great people work under me. We don’t have a high turnover. Louise has been here the longest, about 21 years. Shanda and Beth both have been here about 17 years. Casey, she’s been here about 12 years and Jennifer probably about six. We have one part-time person Halie. She worked more, but since the birth of her child she only works a couple of days a week.

Do you have the opportunity to be close to the people you work with?

Yes. You get real close to them. Most of the time we have a good atmosphere. Of course, when you have a lot of women working in a place sometimes there’s, what do I want to say, minor problems. As a general rule, we all get along together and get through the tight moments.

What do you for fun?

I like to read. Linda Lael Miller is my favorite author. Her books are more back in the older days in history with romance in them.

I used to do a lot of sewing, but I haven’t done very much sewing lately. When I was young, I used to make a lot of my clothes. I think I have forgotten everything I knew about that.

We do a little traveling — nothing big. We usually take a week vacation in the summer and in the winter we stay in Pigeon Forge. My husband really wants to go to Alaska. We’ve always talked about Hawaii — that’s probably more me. I think Alaska will be the first big trip — that’s more him. He is more the outdoor, roughing it. I thought I would like to take a cruise, but I don’t think so now. It’s funny I would even think about taking a cruise. I can’t swim and I’m scared to death of water. In fact, I’m a big chicken. What have been the big challenges for you as clerk?

My first day I was just a nervous wreck. As far as challenges, I think you have some type of challenge on a daily basis. Elections are a big challenge. They (elections) are just so detailed. When it becomes Election Day there is no room for mistakes. We start several months in advance of Election Day. You start in January with your petition filings. You have to have your ballot position drawings. From the get-go, pretty much after January, you are into elections the whole time.

Precinct lists start in advance with two Democrats and two Republicans, who will work where, with training before every election, which is mandatory. Election morning we get here at 5 a.m. The Republican chairperson and Democratic chairperson are here with us all day. Price Batts (D) and Marvin Oder (R), couldn’t ask for two nicer people to work with. We never know when we will go home. When did you decide to retire and what are your thoughts about it?

I could’ve retired the last one (term)—after 27 years. I just wanted to do just one more. At my age, I guess I thought I wasn’t ready. I think I’m definitely ready now. I’ve got a 10-year-old grandson and a 16-month-old and I just need to be spending more time with them — watching them grow up. I’ll miss the girls and the day-to-day people coming in. Some people give you a way to go, but that’s all in a day’s work.

It’s going to be nice not to have an agenda every morning. I will probably do more babysitting.

It’s been a very enjoyable career. I think having dedicated workers working with you makes it easier. They are good workers and they do their jobs well.