Faye Griffin wants Jefferson County residents to know that she’s just a regular person. She might be a politician, but the newly elected District 1 county commissioner said she sure doesn’t feel like one.
“I don’t really feel like a politician. I don’t. I’m just a person,” Griffin said. “It’s just different.”
Griffin has worked for the county for well over 30 years, so the arena is not new to her. But for someone who’s most comfortable around family — watching “SpongeBob SquarePants” with her grandson or squeezing into a doghouse with him — such a title might seem too formal.
“Family is very important to me,” the Jefferson County native said, noting that her time away from work is often filled with household chores such as laundry and grocery shopping. In between the domestic duties, she finds time for quality time with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Such time, especially with her grandson Conner, can be a little offbeat.
“We had a big dog, a big yellow lab. And she has a doghouse. … Conner was in the doghouse, and he said, ‘Come on, Grandma, get in the doghouse.’ And I thought, ‘Could I get in there?’ So I’m sitting in the doghouse with my grandson.”
Outside the doghouse, Griffin, a Republican, has a long history with the county, having served as treasurer and clerk and recorder. Though she has a wealth of knowledge concerning county operations, she’s easing into her new position.
“My plan is to meet the employees,” she said, “and listen to them. … I know a lot of people by faces, but I don’t know them. … I want the employees to know that we always have an open-doors policy.”
Part of a commissioner’s responsibility is balancing the county budget, something that could prove a challenge in the face of a global recession.
“We are limited with money. We’ve got real, real problems with the budget,” she said. “We’re going to be looking at how we can keep continually cutting back on costs and yet still have a service for the citizens.”
Working hard for Jefferson County residents is something Griffin said she strives to do, and she stresses that integrity is a key component of serving in public office.
“I run on the fact that I am honest. I am trustworthy. But we have other elected officials that are honest and trustworthy. … If you have any elected official that does anything that’s questionable, it makes everybody look like they’re not honest. And that’s not true.”
Griffin succeeds former commissioner Jim Congrove.
“Most everybody I know who works at the county wants to do a good job for the citizens,” she said.
In Griffin’s case, a good job means working to modernize Jefferson County and encourage growth.
“You can’t build fences around us, so we need to look at roads and transportation. We need to look at jobs and housing,” she said. “I love Jefferson County. I’ve only lived here. But I think that we have fallen behind in some things. In the old days it used to be that Jefferson County was first in any technology, first in everything. And as the years have gone by, the other counties have appeared to have done better.”