PCI’s first employee retires after 48 years

Published 3:54 pm Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Special to the Advance

Carlton leaves legacy of dedication, impact

Carlton

Glenda Carlton, the first employee to be hired by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians(PCI),isretiringafter48yearsofservice.

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Carlton’s story is one of simple beginnings and an overwhelming desire to contribute her best talents to the people, community and Tribe that she loves so much, PCI officials said in a release.

Hired seven months out of high school, Carlton began her tenure with PCI on December 8, 1975 as its project coordinator.

Former Chairman Eddie Tullis recalled interviewing numerous people for the position, and decided that Carlton was the best person for the job. As fate would have it, his first hire was probably his best one, officials said.

During that time, the Tribe had 18 Tribal Council Members, but no actual employees. Through the efforts of folks like Tullis and Buford Rolin, the Tribe was awarded a grant, which was focused on helping Tribes get organized and established. Equipped with her diploma from Escambia County High School, an exemplary work ethic and her God-given intelligence, Carlton set about the task of implementing the grant through which she was hired.

“She didn’t get paid until after she had been employed for six weeks because it was a grant-funded position and it took longer than we planned for the funding to come through. But, Glenda’s always been conscientious about doing what’s right. If she said it, you could take it as gospel,” Tullis said. “As it turns out, that’s exactly the type of person you want involved in your accounting department.”

To emphasize his comment, Tullis shared a story about a time Carlton stayed up till midnight ensuring the books were balanced.

When he asked her how far off they were from being balanced, she responded with tears in her eyes, “Seventeen cents,” he responded. “Glenda, go home and sleep on it. I can’t help you much, but I’ll be here at 8 o’clock in the morning to help you however I can. And, if we can’t find the 17 cents, I’ll give it to you to make it balanced.”

She beat him back to the office, and they eventually found the discrepancy.

Since 2008, Carlton has worked as the director of finance at the Tribal Gaming Commission (TGC). TGC Administrator Daniel McGhee recalled his excitement when she came to work for the entity 16 years ago. The TGC was undergoing a restructuring that required the formation of its own finance and accounting division.

In true “Ms. Glenda” fashion, she took on the task of developing the division including the fiscal policies and procedures to operate and regulate in accordance with the standards laid out by governing bodies such as the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), according to a release.

“I never had to worry about the financial health of the TGC again,” McGhee said. “Ms. Glenda had it all under control. In her almost 16 years with us, we have never had a warranted financial audit finding or accounting issue. That has only been possible thanks to Ms. Glenda’s dedication, knowledge, and expertise.” He added, “She has an impeccable eye for detail and an ethical nature that is beyond compare. She works hard and as long as it takes to make sure everything and everyone is financially taken care of at the TGC. She will be irreplaceable.”

In sharing her thoughts on the retirement of Poarch’s first employee, Tribal Chair and CEO Stephanie Bryan said, “Ms. Glenda has contributed so much of her life to the Poarch Creek Indians and has made a huge impact on the Tribe. Even though I would love for her to still be employed with the Tribe, it’s time for her to enjoy the fruits of her work.” The Chairwoman fondly remembered seeing Ms. Glenda at the Consolidated School building, which became the Tribe’s first office headquarters during the Tribe’s early years. Even then, Glenda was well known for her dedication and devotion to the Tribe, her strong work ethic, and her love for people.

“Further, the confidence that well-respected leaders have in Ms. Glenda’s abilities is a legacy worth noting,” she added.

Tullis shared that in all of Glenda’s interactions with federal officials, they always made sure to share with him how much they enjoyed working with her.

“I would put Glenda in a room with any accountant, CPA, or anybody to manage money,” Bryan said.

“A leader doesn’t need recognition as long as the job gets done, and that’s Glenda. It’s evident that things have always gotten accomplished under her leadership,” John C. Maxwell said. “In speaking with the retiree directly, I was struck by the warm confidence she exuded. Never one to boast of her own accomplishments, she shared how a high school graduate started her career as a project coordinator, found her love for accounting, and is now retiring as the director of finance fortheTGCofoneofthemostsuccessfulTribesinthenation.”

Sheshared,“I’vebeenblessedand fortunate. It’s been my job, but I never dreaded it at all because I loved it,” Carlton said. “I never wanted to beon Tribalcouncil.IonlywantedtohelptheTribeinitsgoalsandobjectivesthroughwhat Icoulddo inaccounting.”

Now, she’s trading in her time balancing the finances for days, “spent with family and digging in the dirt.”

 

 

On behalf of all your friends, family, and colleagues here at the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, we are thankful for the way you’ve touched all our lives, the innumerable contributions you’ve made during your 48 years, and the legacy you’re leaving for all of us to carry forward. Mvto. Thank you, Ms. Glenda.

 

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About the Poarch Band of Creek Indians

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians is the only federally recognized tribe in Alabama. From hospitality to aerospace, we continue to operate in a variety of industries across the World. Read more about our Tribe here.