There are two things in life that are guaranteed, death and taxes.
For the past two decades the person responsible for collecting those taxes has been Linda Emmons.
Now, after five terms in office, Emmons is switching off her calculator and passing the torch to her chief deputy, Doug Trentmann, who she backed in the election earlier this month.
“This is the best job I’ve ever had and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else,” she said. “I’m not really sure what I’ll do next. I hope Doug calls and says he needs something.”
Emmons first joined the collector’s office in 1986 as a part-time clerk. Although she worked her way through the ranks, she never dreamed she would ever run for office, much less be the collector for 20 years.
“I started at the bottom and learned every job in the office,” she said. “In 1997, I kind of got the notion I might want to run. Then my boss decided she wasn’t going to run and gave me her blessing. It was four years earlier than I had planned.”
After battling tough primary and general election opponents, Emmons won her first elected office.
“It was a grassroots campaign,” she said. “We went to every breakfast and dinner all over the county. People were probably sick and tired of seeing me. The only bad thing about this job was the campaigning.”
As with any workplace, there are changes that take place over the course of time and the collector’s office was no different.
“When I first came in, we only had one computer,” Emmons said. “But, since I’ve come in we’ve only added one staff member in 20 years, so I’ve done my part to keep payroll at a minimum.”
Emmons says the best part of her job over the years has been interacting with the public as they visit the office.
“Sometimes they come in happy and other times not so much,” she said. “Believe it or not, I used to be a very shy person and this job has helped me come out of it. I don’t think I would have done anything different.”
Emmons says there are aspects of the actual work she will miss, but it is mostly the people.
“I think there’s something about being needed,” she said. “I don’t know what it’s like to sit and do nothing.”
In the weeks since the election, much has been made about the number of women elected to offices across the country.
In Franklin County, several women currently hold about half of the county’s elected offices and that has been the trend for many years.
“I never dreamed I would be in this position for this long,” Emmons said. “Don’t ever sell yourself short. I believe God helped me get here.”
Leaving a job you love and position you have fought to retain every four years can be tough, but Emmons feels the office will be in good hands with her replacement, who can continue to build on the two-decade foundation she and the staff has laid.
“Doug knows the job inside and out,” Emmons said. “It’s good to know someone like him is taking the reins.”
Trentmann will be sworn in at the first of the year, but Emmons will not officially leave office until the end of February due to closing out the 2018 accounts.
Emmons and her husband of 50 years, Rodney, recently moved to Washington after living in Union for 45 years.
They have one son, Rodney Steven Emmons, and three grandchildren, Bailey, 16, Krista, 14, and Tyler, 9.