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Public worker: Snoqualmie’s Dan Marcinko gets nod for Best City Employee
Dan Marcinko, Snoqualmie’s friendly, enthusiastic Public Works Director, was named Best City Employee in the 2014 Best of the Valley poll.
The ex-Midwesterner joined the city team in March of 2009, and has overseen the ongoing transformation of the historic downtown, among many projects and duties. Below, he shares his approach and philosophy.
How did you get drawn into Public Works and a city career?
“I was originally drawn into public works by accident. I was working for Palumbo Brothers out of Chicago (construction field) and my wife and I agreed I needed a more stable job with only 40 hours each week. I applied for a job with the city of McHenry in Illinois and they hired me as the city engineer.
I pursued my master’s in business administration and become the assistant director of public works for McHenry and then soon became the eirector when the incumbent retired.”
What do you like about your job?
“I have the distinct pleasure of really enjoying my job. I love what I do. What do I do, you ask? I work for the residents and try to improve their daily lives by preserving the community from an infrastructure need to the trails and parks they use hopefully on a daily basis. I find comfort in working with residents and they allow me a small view into their lives in an effort to see if there is something I can do to make a difference. I am not a typical government employee in the sense that I carry with me a can-do attitude and get-it done atmosphere about me.
I have a true passion to help people and plan/organize for the city’s future growth and infrastructure maintenance needs. Working for a beautiful, small community nestled in the foothills like Snoqualmie is very rewarding. Assisting the public with their needs and seeing results of a collaborative effort between the city council and the staff as we develop and build the community together has distinct advantages of accomplishment.”
What is your philosophy of service?
My philosophy: Government should provide necessary services to its citizens with honesty and professionalism at reasonable costs. Although the range of services is diverse, the following principles guide our efforts:
• Provide the least intrusive government that serves the best interest of all citizens.
• Encourage citizen participation in government and promote public trust and accountability.
• Administer a government that is competent and responsive to citizens’ needs while understanding its obligation to taxpayers.
• Adhere to a strong work ethic, promoting high productivity with reasonable workloads.
• Foster an economic, social and physical environment that allows individual citizens and businesses to realize their potential.
• Administer city government with comp8assion and fairness.
What do you think a public works boss should do for citizens?
“A public works director is responsible for managing many different projects and facilities funded by the city. The goal is to make the community a better place to live. These projects and facilities are broad in scope and include parks, road construction, and water quality maintenance to mention only a few. It is the public works eirector’s job to develop and lead a sound team that contributes to a high quality of life.”
If you could inform people about one issue as a city employee, what would it be?
“I wish residents would not vote against school or government bonds/levies. If people do not agree with what is being asked, all I would request is get involved in your local government or school organization and work with the people you have elected. The city council are folks the citizens elected and are well-informed with the decision making and needs of the community for infrastructure. As well, the school district Board is also very knowledgeable of what our students need to have a valuable educational experience.
This is a community we have all built together and we want to preserve this community from not only an aesthetic point of view but for the infrastructure that keeps it moving and working.”
You moved here for work and are raising your family in Snoqualmie. How long ago was that?
“I was born and raised in Wheaton, Illinois and my first day on the job was March 1, 2009. I have a family of three children (now all teenagers), two rescue Alaskan Malamutes which I’m sure many people see (on a leash!) when they walk through Snoqualmie Community Park and when they stick their heads over the back fence. My wife, Bev Marcinko, works for the Lake Washington School District as a Physical Therapist and has the distinct privilege and rewarding career of working with the challenged children within the school district. I could not ask for a better place to raise three children, centrally located with skiing, hiking, biking and a very high population of children all condensed in a small community that they can call home.”
What have you learned about this community since moving here?
“This community is in dire need of an aquatic center at the Snoqualmie Community Center/YMCA. A community with a high population of children in such a small area could really use a pool for the kids to use. It would come with multiple benefits from raising home values, offering the kids somewhere to go outside the home in a wet climate, and provide parents a reprieve while the kids have somewhere to focus their energy. It would also offer adults of all ages another option to improve their health and well-being.”
What’s something about you that most folks would never guess?
“Professionally – I have a passion to apply for grants for the City, which in turn allows us to stretch our dollar further for the residents. This is probably tied to me being cheap, but I do like to get the best value I can for any project with a variety of grant funding opportunities that are out there.
Personally - I love wine tasting – visiting with friends and wine tasting is the best way to spend a weekend. I have been square dancing for almost 42 years and love the exercise and social aspect. I like to camp and explore the Pacific Northwest with my family, the most beautiful place I have ever lived.”