End of an eraPublished 8:19am Monday, June 30, 2014
JACKSON – The last time Northampton County officials did not consult Charles J. Vaughan for legal advice, Ronald Reagan occupied the White House, Gaylord Perry was pitching spitballs, and Chariots of Fire took home the Oscar for Best Picture.
That was 1982.
Thirty-one years later, Vaughan remains as a practicing attorney, but retires effective July 1 from providing legal advice for Northampton County local government.
Perhaps known best for his trademark Carolina blue pinstripe suits and carefully-worded responses to legal questions – delivered in his typical Southern drawl, Vaughan was honored for his four decades of service to Northampton County.
“It is with the sincere appreciation of this board that we recognize Charles Vaughan for 31 years of untiring, dedicated service to Northampton County and its citizens,” said Robert Carter, chairman of the county commissioners, in presenting Vaughan with an engraved plaque during the board’s June 16 meeting.
Vaughan said it has been his privilege to serve and to gain annual reappointment for 30 consecutive years.
“It’s been my honor to serve in this capacity,” Vaughan stated upon accepting the plaque from Carter.
“Over my years of service I’ve noted that your job as a commissioner has become more complex in nature,” Vaughan continued. “You all have done a wonderful job in keeping up to date with all the changes. Mr. Carter has showed a lot of patience and done a wonderful job as chairman of this board. I thank you all for allowing me to serve and work with you on your efforts to make this county a great place to live and work.”
While the faces of the board, department heads and county manager have changed over the years, Vaughan remained steadfast in his role of delivering sound legal advice. Over those many years of service, the Woodland native has seen his home county grow within the realm of economic development. The growth of that commercial tax base as well the number of accompanying jobs can be partially traced to his involvement in drawing up – sometimes re-structuring – the contracts entered into by the county and a new business.
“Mr. Vaughan’s heart has always been in Northampton County and we’re better off because of his professional legal advice and legal experience,” said current County Manager Kimberly Turner.
“He’s a great attorney and a great person,” she added. “I got along with him very well and can honestly say that we developed a great working relationship during my years here. And nearly a day didn’t go by without Mr. Vaughan coming into the office and sharing a funny story. He had a great sense of humor.”
Vaughan’s position as legal counsel to Northampton County local government will be filled, effective July 1, by another county native – Scott McKellar. He is the son of Jackson attorney John McKellar and is currently employed with the Rocky Mount law firm of Battle, Winslow, Scott and Wiley.
“He’ll do a good job because his roots are here,” said Vaughan of his successor. “He understands how Northampton County works.”
A member of the North Carolina State Bar since 1966, Vaughan remains in law practice at his office in Woodland.