TORRINGTON – Bringing all the different entities within Goshen County together to work for a common future is Sandy Pittman’s goal in her bid for the Torrington City Council.
“When we started economic development, for example, it was a matter of going to the retail merchant’s group and saying, ‘What can we do to bring people here?’” Pittman said Monday. “I’m a very team-oriented person.
“You get the solutions you need when you put ideas on the table and it’s not a dictatorship,” she said. “Even if they seem a little random, it may spark the answer in you from that little fragment to spark the best solution to a problem. That kind of cooperation doesn’t cost us anything, but it benefits our citizens.”
Pittman, who served as Torrington’s city clerk for 25 years, will be on the ballot for the General Election in November following a successful write-in campaign. With a three-vote requirement for inclusion, she received 13 write-in votes during the Primary Election last month.
Pittman always intended to make a bid for one of the open seats on the Torrington City Council this year, but she missed the filing deadline for inclusion on the August ballot. A simple mix up in dates from an internet search for the deadline prompted her call to friends and supporters for the write-in campaign, she said.
This isn’t her first bid for city-wide office. Pittman challenged for the Mayor’s seat four years ago against incumbent Mayor Mike Varney.
“I told Randy Adams – I wanted him to run, but he chose not to run then – I won’t run against you,” she said. “But I’d like to be part of the team that makes some changes.”
Aging city infrastructure is probably the biggest challenge the city will face in coming years, Pittman said. Just because most of it’s buried underground and out of site, doesn’t mean it’s not getting older and possibly wearing out, but financing repair or replacement will be the growing issue in the future.
Economic development within the community is another major, ongoing challenge, she said. And that comes down to getting people from outside the community to recognize what Torrington, Goshen County and eastern Wyoming have to offer.
On the plus side, Eastern Wyoming College is probably the greatest asset within the local community, she said. The veterinary technologist and the new barbering programs are a huge advantage.
“And the prison is a clean industry,” Pittman said. “It produces jobs – I just wish they were higher paying – and it also increases our population. (Inmates) are counted because they’re in the corporate limits, so the state gives us a little bit larger pot of money, based on our population.”
Pittman is well versed in the ins and outs of city operations – and challenges – through her 25 years as city clerk. Perhaps her biggest goal, if elected, is to help residents gain a better understanding of the process, particularly in the budget and public works projects within the community.
“I think the budget process is kind of a mystery to the general public,” Pittman said. “They don’t understand the staff has been working many years to get a schedule of things that need to be done.
“When people start complaining, they’re asking, ‘Why did that project get done when this one was perhaps more important?’’ Pittman said. “It took many years to get things developed into a sequence of what needs to be funded.”
A better understanding of that process on the part of the general public would help them have a more effective voice, Pittman said. Getting involved during the budget process – instead of confronting city staff with complaints once the budget is set – would lead to more effective communication between residents and their governing body.
Her run for the city council “is more of an issue thing, not the people who are working now,” Pittman said. “When the public doesn’t understand why the parking lot in front of city hall is being done, it tells me we’re not telling them (they) need to be in the loop to make changes when they’re appropriate, rather than criticizing.
“I worked for the city for many years, I’ve been on the other side of the counter, I’ve listened to people,” she said. “I think I can be that link. I can tell them why that happened, because I listened to what they said. I can also bring to the process what the public is saying.”
Sandy Pittman retired from the city in 2012. Her late husband, Kevin Pittman – who worked for Goshen County School District No. 1 for more than 20 years – retired from the railroad in April, shortly before he passed away. Now Pittman believes she’s ready to get back to work for the residents of Torrington.
“I think I have more to give,” she said. “I think I’m a pretty good team player – that’s my idea of how this ought to work with the public.
“I even see the other small towns and the county – we all need to be working forward,” Pittman said. “If we’re all doing the same thing, which is survival, getting people to spend their money at home, it makes a big difference, because it’s putting jobs in our community.”