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Employee Connection: Meet Our Staff

Our City employees enjoy working for the North Plains community. In this series, we’ll introduce either an individual or a group of City employees to you each month so you can get to know us and what we do. Please feel free to say hi when you see us around town!

Meet Library Assistant Sheila Nelson

Sheila started as a volunteer with the library in 2003 before the current building was even built. After 9 years, in 2012 she began working as a part-time library assistant. She says her role is to make everyone welcome and to try her best to meet their needs. She loves meeting new people, seeing familiar faces, and signing everyone up for summer reading. She practices yoga, walks, and birdwatches when she's not working.


Meet Police Deputy Steven Schutz

Steven began working as an officer for North Plains in 2017. In his role, he works to promote community safety, conserve the peace, and serve the community in any way he can. He says that he loves how welcoming and close knit the North Plains community is and that the best part of his job is being able to make a genuine difference in people’s lives.

Meet Library Early Literacy Specialist Emily West

Before becoming our Library's Early Literacy Specialist in 2018, Emily began as a volunteer leading a weekly youth book club. Her vital role includes planning the weekly Storytime, creating weekly crafts and literacy packets for families, co-planning youth programming, promoting library events, and more.

Meet Accounting Clerk Bailey Gaunt

Bailey is usually the first person who greets you when you walk into City Hall and she has several other important roles with the City. She is the staff person you may have or will talk with about things like water billing, Jessie Mays Community Center and Pavilion rentals, or the community garden.

When asked why she serves, Bailey says, "I love North Plains! The community is so involved and so caring."

Meet Public Works Operations Tech Cody Brown

Cody joined the City almost a year and a half ago and says while he's still fairly new, he's not new to North Plains. He's been in the area most of his life and has also worked at the mill on Commercial Street for 19 years.

About his role with the City, he says, "I work to respond as quickly as possible to service requests and improve North Plains in any way I can." He also says, "I like that I get to work all over town not just in one spot, and that I'm here to make residents lives better. If anyone sees me around town say hi and let me know what I can do to help."

Meet Planning Manager Steve Miller

Steve is the city’s first full-time planner and joined the team in 2022. 

"I enjoy working with the public on projects that promote the community, enhance the development of the downtown core, and advance the common good of the city," says Steve about why he serves North Plains. 

He also says, "Some of the things I like most about North Plains are the residents I’ve been able to meet and work with over the last year, being part of a growing and evolving community, and learning about the history of the surrounding area."

Meet Finance Director Bill Reid

Bill joined the City in 2020 and barely had two normal months getting into the job before the pandemic hit. 

He says, "City government affects a surprising number of things in our everyday lives and it's both an honor and a joy to help North Plains be the best of things for its residents."

Meet Librarian Brianna Sowinski

Brianna started working for the library in 2016 as a part-time library assistant. In September 2021. she was hired into her new full-time position as Librarian 1, with an emphasis on school outreach, communications, and acquisitions.

She says she serves because, "To me, public libraries are magical. A public library is the only place where people can go to find information, ask a question, use our services like the internet, copy, scan, & fax, ebooks, get tutoring, or attend a program, everything for free. And that’s just a small portion of what the library offers. We also have a free streaming service, access to newspapers and magazines…I’ll have to stop because I could go on and on!"

Meet Library Assistant Steve Dehner

Steve joined the library team in 2019. In addition to sharing regular library responsibilities with the other library assistants, his primary duty is to collect and develop ideas, and plan, schedule, help publicize, and host programs aimed at adults - and sometimes teens as well.

He says what he likes best about his job includes, "I really enjoy working with the people here: my coworkers, the patrons, volunteers, and programming folks – they are all fabulous. It’s great fun visiting and getting to know people, putting on a successful program, or helping someone make a new reading discovery. "

Meet Library Director Robin Doughty

Robin has been our Library Director since 2019 and manages the overall library operations, strategic planning, budgeting, and staffing.

"I never get tired of seeing packages of brand-new books arrive at the library and I love making someone their very first library card!
She also says she enjoys thinking about what’s next in libraries to bring to North Plains to delight our local residents.

Meet Police Deputy Juergen (Yogi) Barters

Yogi joined the North Plains Police Department about a year ago, and has worked as a Washington County Sheriffs Office Deputy for more than seven years. 

He says enjoys his job because, "I get to meet people from all walks of life and interact with them, both during their best and worst times."

He also says his workday is dynamic and what he loves about North Plains is the people "always waving at me!"

Meet City Recorder Lori Lesmeister

Lori has worked for the City since 2016 and is primarily responsible for creating agenda packets and minutes for City Council, as well as all City boards and committees. She is also responsible for city elections and records retention and management and pitches in to help with other things including the monthly “Connected” newsletter.

What she says she loves about North Plains is, "It's still small enough to feel like a rural community. The residents here are neighborly to each other and to city staff and I know many of them by name. It makes me feel personally connected to them even though I live in another town." 

Meet Library Volunteer Coordinator Carol Aldrich

How long have you worked here?
I’ve worked at the library for over 12 years.  I was hired in April 2010. Since that time, I’ve had the fun opportunity to transition into many roles, serving in Youth Services doing Storytimes and programs, helping facilitate the start of our Teen Council and later wearing the Adult Programming hat.   

What do you do in your role for the City?
It’s my absolute joy and honor to be the library’s Volunteer Coordinator! It’s truly a great job working with an incredibly talented, creative, hardworking, and amazing team of library volunteers and staff!  When the pandemic hit, I also was part of our Outreach Team which created Library Joy, a daily e-newsletter, as well as working with our volunteer team to create and assemble Adult Adventure Packs. 

Meet Senior Accountant Jen Cooper

Jen joined the City in 2021. She manages payroll and employee benefits, accounts payable, and the day-to-day accounting for the City. She also oversees the utility billing program and provides administrative support to all our departments. 

What Jen says she loves about North Plains is, "The City is planning for the future of the town and its residents to ensure that the community continues to thrive."

Meet Public Works Operations Technician Javier Espinoza

How long have you worked here?
I have worked for the City Of North Plains close to 5 years.

What do you do in your role for the city?
My role is to ensure that the city is providing safe drinking water at its consumers taps and protecting the water system.