Park City Mayor Andy Beerman announced the creation of a new position at the State of the City address in February. A longtime City staffer will soon step into that role.
Michelle Downard has worked for Park City Municipal for 15 years. Hired by former Chief Building Official Ron Ivie, Downard started in code enforcement. She took tests and gained certifications to better understand City processes and regulations, and became a senior code enforcement officer, then a building and plan check coordinator, then deputy chief building official.
As deputy chief building official, Downard’s duties focus on processing applications and coordinating projects within the Building Department. Downard’s new role as resident advocate will connect her directly with applicants.
“I think my interest and the exciting part about the job is going to include the opportunity to be able to work with people a little bit more, to be able to sit down and talk through how they navigate the processes a little bit more than we have the ability to now,” Downard said.
Downard says the job will be about proactively communicating to residents about changes and improvements to processes. For people who aren’t familiar with those processes, it can be difficult to navigate timelines for submittals or what type of information needs to be included for an application to be successful. Downard says the City has received feedback on government processes across the board, and the creation of the resident advocate position should improve the experience.
“We just wanted to, from the City's perspective, make sure that we have what we need, as far as the tools and resources available to help contribute to a high level of customer service.”
In the near term, Downard will work primarily with the Community Development Department, which includes Building, Engineering and Planning. Down the road, she hopes to provide support to City staff wherever the need arises.
The timeline for hiring a new deputy chief building official isn’t yet determined. Until then, with support from the Building Department and City Management, Downard will delegate some tasks from her work as deputy chief building official, while also taking on new ones as resident advocate.