And then there were three...

Public works director finalists meet public

Carmen Jaramillo
cjaramillo@ptleader.com
Posted 2/12/20

The public had the opportunity to meet the three finalists for the City of Port Townsend Public Works director position Monday night at the Cotton Building.

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And then there were three...

Public works director finalists meet public

Posted

The public had the opportunity to meet the three finalists for the City of Port Townsend Public Works director position Monday night at the Cotton Building.

John Mauro, Port Townsend city manager, said he hopes to announce who the city has chosen by next week.

The position has been open since Greg Lanning, who was hired in 2017, left this past fall. City engineer David Peterson has served as director in the interim.

Steve King

Steve King currently serves as the director of economic development for the City of Wenatchee. He said he wants to come to Port Townsend because he believes he will enjoy the town’s progressive culture as well as its natural beauty.

He said he loves to fish and is excited by the extensive outdoor recreation opportunities in the region.

He also said he sees the challenges facing the City of Port Townsend as interesting opportunities and recognizes some of the public’s frustrations around things like street conditions and the sewer outfall.

He said he has worked in places that had a very disinterested public and that he would much rather work and live in a place where he gets to hear more voices and perspectives.

When talking about the city’s debt and the infrastructure projects that have contributed to it, King said he believes in a philosophy of “making your debt work for you” by investing in things that will generate revenue.

Karin Hilding

Karin Hilding is a senior project engineer with the City of Whitefish, Montana. She has 27 years of engineering experience and said she sees a lot of similarities between Whitefish and Port Townsend. She said she sees the area as one of the only places she would want to move if she was going to leave Whitefish, a town of 7,500 people that also has problems with tourist traffic and affordable housing.

Hilding sees sidewalk, street and biking infrastructure as keys to continued economic growth because without bikeable streets and safe sidewalks for kids to walk to school, young people and families will not want to move to Port Townsend.

She also said she sees the retirement community in Whitefish and in Port Townsend as a valuable asset because they are both highly engaged.

“Instead of being in opposition to them, you have to put the public to work for you,” she said.

Martin Pastucha

Martin Pastucha currently serves as the interim public works director for the City of San Fernando, California, a city of 24,000 outside of Los Angeles. He lives on Bainbridge Island and flies to California for a part of each week.

He has served as the public works director for several cities over the past 20 years, including Pasadena, California, and Redmond.

Pastucha said he does not plan to immediately move to Port Townsend if he is offered the job but will commute, and that working in San Fernando has helped him understand what it is like to work with limited funds and explore a multitude of funding sources for projects. He said he has experience working with contentious projects and that it’s important to communicate with the public and understand their expectations.

When looking at how the city should manage sea level rise and the effects of climate change, Pastucha said the city must first identify a reliable prediction of the impact, then evaluate the areas of the city that are the most vulnerable before deciding how to move forward.

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