Every town planner has a specific area he or she is passionate about.
For new Coupeville Town Planner Tammy Baraconi, her passion lies with historic preservation.
So when an opening was advertised in the town Baraconi often visited on vacation, she jumped on it.
“This is a second career for me,” Baraconi said. “I used to work in banking.”
Baraconi said she left the banking industry after it moved in a direction she wasn’t comfortable with. She went back to school and got a new degree in planning.
She spent eight years at the City of Centralia, working her way up.
“I got to the point where I had gone as far as I could with that job,” she said. “I’ve always loved Coupeville. I’m excited to be here and I feel blessed to be here, I truly am. It’s a wonderful community.”
Baraconi’s eight years in Centralia gave her a breadth of experience that appealed to town officials.
Coupeville Mayor Nancy Conard said four candidates were interviewed for the planner position. Baraconi was chosen, she said, because she had experience in short- and long-term planning.
The town changed the position this year from a part-time contracted position to a full-time staff position. The town is also currently advertising for a part-time permit technician.
Changes to the planning department were made for several reasons.
Conard, who also serves as the town administrator, is ending her 20 years in office at the end of 2015.
Town Hall is working on restructuring departments so that some of those administrative tasks Conard currently handles will be distributed to other departments.
Town staff members are also hoping to decrease the turnaround time on smaller permits and improve customer service by having an employee in the planning department every weekday.
“There should be some permits people should be able to get over the counter,” Baraconi said. “They shouldn’t have to wait six weeks.”
While the planning department isn’t at the point of having a quick turnaround quite yet, Baraconi said, “We’re certainly headed toward that.”
Baraconi was also chosen because of her experience in long-term planning, something that will come in handy when the town starts working on its comprehensive plan at the start of 2016, Conard said.
Prior to that project starting, Baraconi said she will be working with the town council and the Historic Preservation Commission to get them educated on the ins and outs of a comprehensive plan.
“Where I see the issue is getting the public to participate,” she said. “It’s a challenge.”
During that process, Baraconi said, the town will hold public meetings in effort to get the community involved.