Longtime City Hall staffer retires after one last meeting | ParkRecord.com

Longtime City Hall staffer retires after one last meeting

Sharon Bauman was a fixture for years at Park City Planning Commission meetings. More recently she has been one of the City Hall staffers seen at Park City Council meetings and, on Election Day, ensuring the voting goes smoothly.

Bauman, who is the senior city recorder and the election official at City Hall, retired on Friday after more than 26 years working for the municipal government in various administrative capacities.

Bauman arrived at City Hall in the summer of 1988, landing a job as a part-time administrative secretary in the Planning Department. She became a full-time staffer in the early 1990s. Bauman typically sat on the side of whatever panel was meeting, ensuring that there was an official record of what transpired. She was at City Hall through some of the most contentious discussions of the skiing era.

"Park City has a lot of very concerned citizens and they can be very vocal," Bauman said.

She recalls one meeting years ago, as Park City leaders at that time were considering the future of the Carl Winters Building on Park Avenue in Old Town. It was eventually refurbished as the Park City Library and Education Center, but there was divisiveness in the community as the talks unfolded.

Bauman was working during a Planning Commission meeting when a developer presented ideas to turn the Carl Winters Building and the grounds into a hotel and convention center. The idea drew a crowd to the Planning Commission opposing the possibility of the building being redone as a hotel.

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"The entire neighborhood, and I’d say community, turned out for the meeting," Bauman said, recalling the meeting not ending until about midnight.

Park City leaders in the 1990s eventually opted against that sort of idea and retrofitted the building into what is now the Park City Library and Education Center. Many Park City officials from that era recall the decision fondly.

She also was present at numerous meetings as Park City entered a stage of extraordinary growth in the 1990s. City Hall became embroiled in a series of development disputes in that era. Bauman said the Planning Department needed to weigh the rights of the property owners against the opinions of a neighborhood.

"It’s hard because the citizens were thinking from their point of view . . . and staff, Planning Commission and Council have to think of the big picture," she said.

Bauman is 67 years old and lives in Summit Park. Some of the posts she held at City Hall included the administrative secretary to the Planning Department, the Community Development Department and the city engineer. She was also the administrative secretary to former City Manager Tom Bakaly. Bauman earned a municipal clerk certification and became the deputy city recorder before the promotion to her current position.

Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Council marked Bauman’s retirement at a meeting on Thursday. The City Council was required to formally accept her resignation and retirement since the position is a statutory post within the municipal government.

Bauman received a standing ovation as the elected officials accepted her resignation and retirement. The elected officials were reluctant, in a playful tone, to accept her departure as they gave her accolades. Liza Simpson, a member of the City Council, said she wanted to delay the required vote until 2016.

"Thank you for great service to a community that loves you," the mayor told Bauman.

Although Bauman typically was not the staffer presenting policies or proposals to panels like the Planning Commission or the City Council, she often received public comments about the topics. She said she did not have a thick skin early on during her career at City Hall.

"I learned how to accept their comments without feeling they were attacking staff," Bauman said.

She spoke about the recent discussions about City Hall’s General Plan, an overarching document that guides growth in Park City, saying she was surprised some Parkites remained concerned that their opinions were not considered even after a lengthy process. She said she was impressed the City Council decided to extend the discussions to garner additional input from the public.

Bauman, meanwhile, was the City Hall staffer assigned to the Park City Public Art Advisory Board for approximately eight years. The board holds a role in recommending which artworks the municipal government should acquire and where they should be put.

Some of her favorite pieces include the bicyclist sculptures outside the Park City Municipal Athletic & Recreation Center, which she calls "bright and colorful," and the fish artworks along the Poison Creek trail. Reaching a decision on artworks was sometimes difficult since people on the Public Art Advisory Board offered differing opinions, she acknowledged.

"I drive by an art installation and almost all of them make me smile," Bauman said.