Meet your government
Every Monday, The Times takes a look at someone who keeps local government running smoothly. Previous articles in the series can be found online at gainesville times.com.
While some people were still trying to figure out things like what to wear to the homecoming dance or what to do on Friday after school, Amie Vaughan already knew what she wanted to do with her life.
"Math has always been my thing, but I couldn’t write to save my life. We all have our strengths," Vaughan said. "I took an accounting class during my sophomore year in high school and I just loved it. After that I was hooked."
After high school and college, Vaughan was able to parlay her love for math into a career based upon the subject. She has served as the finance director for the city of Jefferson for the past two years. Prior to that she worked in Gainesville’s finance department for seven years.
"There’s no such thing as a typical day for me," Vaughan said. "I have to do things like prepare all the documentation for our audit and the monthly financial statements for every department so they can see where they are with their budgets."
Although the city is currently running on a balanced budget, that hasn’t always been the case.
"When I first started, the city was facing a very large deficit, but we have been able to turn that around," she said. "I’m a very analytical person. I love a challenge, so I really enjoy trying to balance the budget and figuring out where we can make cuts to save money. Because we had to tighten our belts several years ago to eliminate the deficit, that allowed us to come out ahead of the curve in comparison to a lot other cities when the economy began to decline. Last year, we had a $500,000 reserve fund that we didn’t even have to touch."
You would think Vaughan would want to turn over her family’s checkbook to her husband after having to look at numbers all day, but that isn’t the case.
"I’m very possessive of money," Vaughan said with a laugh.
When she isn’t busy crunching numbers, Vaughan enjoys spending time playing sports with her family.
"I really like to run. I train for the Peachtree (Road Race) every year. My 7-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son both play a lot of sports, so I usually end up coaching one of their teams," she said.
"I’ve coached T-ball, soccer and basketball. It can get pretty stressful with working full-time and coaching, but it’s a good kind of stress. It’s fun to see your kids learn different things and to accomplish things. It also gives me more time to spend one on one with them."