GREEN Barb Holdren has seen a lot of change and wore many hats while working for the city of Green, but plans to retire at the end of July.
She first began working for the city in April 1991 as the executive secretary to the mayor. She said the office at the time was a file room.
"There were a lot of growing pains in those days," Holdren said.
During that time, she said there were very few employees and departments and she learned a lot from Mayor John Torok, the road superintendent and fire chief.
"They taught me to be a civil servant," Holdren said.
Holdren said one key aspect she has learned is to never discount anyone and what they have to say. She is all about listening to residents and seeing what they have to say about a certain issue.
She began her current job as zoning superintendent in the spring of 2003 and said the position was a good challenge for her.
"It’s about respect," Holdren said. "Sometimes people have bad experiences with zoning. Nobody likes zoning."
Holdren’s family ran a market called Holdren’s Market, where she worked when she was younger and said she picked up a lot of knowledge of customer service and of the city.
One of the first big tasks she worked on as zoning superintendent was reviewing new home permits as the city had a couple hundred houses being built each year between 2003 and 2006.
Some of her responsibilities as zoning director include issuing zoning permits, making sure codes are followed and overseeing construction projects. She said a lot of time is put into making sure projects meet the code because a mistake can be costly. Holdren said zoning centers around usage and location.
Complaints are something Holdren deals with often mostly for high grass, property lines and neighbor disputes. She said a lot of people are scraping now and have a lot of items in their yard and neighbors tend to get upset. Another issue she receives are many calls on animal control, but she said the city doesn’t have a resource for that.
"If we can’t help someone out, I offer other resources that can help," Holdren said.
When it comes to neighbor disputes, Holdren said many times she reminds each property owner of their rights. Just because something bothers someone else doesn’t mean it violates the code.
"We can always find that middle ground resolving a violation," Holdren said.
She even has made friends with a few of the violators.
Recently Holdren has been working on a lot of code for exterior maintenance and she hopes the mayor and council finish the code and put it into place. She said the city’s code needs updated to help deal with today’s changing community.
As Holdren nears retirement, she said she will miss being able to serve people. She said in the future she wants to find a way to continue to serve the community. In addition to serving the community, she plans to spend time with her family and grandchildren.