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Accountant faced yearly changes
When Phyllis McNicoll announced her decision a year ago to retire as Glynn County's finance director, County Administrator Alan Ours had several suggestions he hoped would compel her to change her mind.

"The first six months (after she gave her retirement notice), I tried to talk her out of it," Ours said. "She is highly regarded, not only in Glynn County but in the state as an exceptional finance director."

Among the suggestions Ours made was for McNicoll to buy a larger house, so she would not be able to afford to retire after working 29 years in the department. She didn't agree.

After Ours realized McNicoll was not going to change her mind, he asked her to participate in the interview of Tonya Miller, the former Effingham County finance director. Miller, who currently lives in Unalaska, Alaska, will be McNicoll's replacement, it has been decided.

McNicoll moved to Glynn County in 1980, after her husband accepted a job as the first internal auditor for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Brunswick.

McNicoll, who had worked previously as a civilian auditor for the Army and later as an auditor for the National Finance Center for the Department of Agriculture in New Orleans, spent her first four years in Glynn County raising her young children.

She was hired as an entry level accountant by the county in 1984, when the department had 10 employees and the computers that stored financial data were archaic compared with today's equipment.

"Here, as an entry-level employee, I was involved in everything," she said. "The computer was a monster. They were not as easy to use as now."

The department has changed over the years, with some streamlining to make it more efficient. That doesn't mean the job is easy, however.

"You have so many things going on at one time," she said. "There's a lot of juggling and multitasking."

It's also a job that changes from year to year as elected state officials change requirements for local municipalities and counties.

"Nearly every year they make changes in the legislature," she said. "There's things we have to do we don't have any control over. The people sitting at the desk don't make the rules."

McNicoll said she didn't struggle with the decision to retire, though it wasn't one she thought about much until her husband retired two years ago.

"Up until two years ago, I didn't think I could ever walk out of here," she said.

But now that she is a grandmother, McNicoll said her priorities have changed.

"There are other important things in my life," she said. "I have a lot more things going on outside of work."

County officials said McNicoll has made a lasting contribution to Glynn County, and she will be missed.

Commission Chairwoman Mary Hunt said she appreciated McNicoll's professional demeanor and dedication.

"She was very forthright with her opinion," Hunt said. "She was able to make things a lot clearer to me when I had questions. I really think the world of her."

Commissioner Richard Strickland said he also asked McNicoll to reconsider her decision.

"She'll be missed," he said. "She has been here a long time."

McNicoll said she and her husband will remain in Glynn County and she plans to volunteer for a nonprofit organization to help occupy her time when she isn't meeting family obligations.

"I'm going to miss it, especially the people in the office," she said. "This is still a big part of my life."

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