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Former Public Works director didn't stay retired for long

POULSBO — Jeff Bauman has retired from retirement.

The former Public Works director was chosen Saturday from a pool of six applicants to fill the vacant seat on the Poulsbo City Council. The seat became vacant Dec. 28 when Councilwoman Becky Erickson became Mayor Becky Erickson.

Bauman served as Poulsbo’s public works director from 2006 until 2008. During his 30-minute interview with the council, Bauman said he believed the city’s focus should be on responsible fiscal management and public health and safety. He said his experience on the city’s staff would give him a head start on the council. He was sworn in at Wednesday night’s council meeting.

Bauman used his absence from public service to visit extended family and take several vacations with his wife, Denise Bauman. Now he says he’s ready to be a city council member and for all it entails.

“I wanted to do something where I could draw on the experiences and talents I picked up along the way,” he said.

He anticipates that, even though he has inside knowledge of the day-to-day workings of the city, he won’t be tempted to step in and micromanage staff.

“The council has a policy-making role,” he said. “It wouldn’t be appropriate to try to work with the employees.”

Though he hadn’t considered running for public office for the November election, when the application process came up, it planted an idea in his mind. That idea blossomed into a conversation with his wife and ended with the Poulsbo Place II resident hand-delivering an application to City Hall.

He has an eye on the city’s finances, and is hoping to see the beginnings of recovery soon. That is a trait he shares with Erickson, who said she was pleased the council chose Bauman to fill her vacant seat.

“I was delighted to see him on board,” she said. “I am thrilled the council selected Jeff Bauman.”

That Bauman had previous dealings with the council will prove advantageous, she said.

“I have a great deal of respect for him and I think he’s going to fit in well with the existing council,” Erickson said. She extended that respect to all six of the candidates who went through the process.

Denise Bauman, who volunteers at the Poulsbo Marine Science Center and other organizations in Poulsbo, understands her husband and retirement quickly grew bored of one another.

“He thought he might as well do this while he’s still young enough,” she said. “He’s ready for more than just hanging around, relaxing.”

She’s already familiar with the sacrifices of being married to a council member, and she, too, is ready for the commitment. This Saturday, for instance, she was hoping he’d be able to help out at the science center. Already duty calls: He has council training to attend.

“All of the sudden he has more obligations. When he worked he was gone every day. This is something different. Sometimes he’s gone and sometime he’s around. This will require more coordination.”

Bauman received his undergraduate degree in biology from Stanford University and earned two graduate degrees from the University of Washington, in marine ecology and public administration. He has lived in Poulsbo for three and a half years.

— Staff Writer Tad Sooter contributed to this report.

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