Brazil resident Stacy Gibbens was selected out of more than 25 applicants to fill the position voided after Michele Altman's resignation Aug. 11. Brazil City Police Department Reserve Officer Eric Vanatti has been the Interim Planning Administrator since Aug. 20.
"I have been a legal secretary for about 20 years and, with my children getting older, I wanted a bit of a challenge," Gibbens told The Brazil Times. "I've always like the public service aspect and while I have never been involved in the enforcement of ordinances, I did work on them with the Warsaw City Attorney while working in Kosciusko County Superior Court."
She added her biggest goals are to have a good rapport with the public and help improve the economic development of the city.
"I am definitely interested in the development aspect and think that Brazil is a diamond in the rough," Gibbens said. "I look forward to working with (West Central Indiana Economic Development District Economic Development Specialist) Jim Coffenberry in getting businesses interested in coming to Brazil."
She elaborated by saying she felt that Brazil's close proximity to Terre Haute and Indianapolis could be a major selling point to businesses and even if a few more were to open, it would greatly enhance the local economy.
"Creating jobs will be a start," she said. "Not just because it will bring in more tax dollars, but because more local residents would be employed."
Gibbens' interest in economic development was a major factor in Mayor Ann Bradshaw's decision to hire her.
"I interviewed more than half of the applicants, some twice, and I am pleased and honored she accepted the position," Bradshaw said. "She understands that economic development is not an overnight process, that there are many smaller things to take care of in the meantime and is willing to be here for the long-term."
Gibbens also acknowledges that city ordinances do need to be enforced, but can be handled differently than in the past.
"Ordinances must be followed to the letter, but I'm here to enforce them in a kind fashion and not be overly confrontational," she said.
She added residents can do their part to help beautify the city by taking simple steps.
"As a start, I want to encourage people to focus on making their own place nicer," Gibbens said. "Also, local groups and civic organizations may choose to volunteer their time to help beautify the downtown area. Now is the time to focus on the small things then move on to the big things."
Vanatti will maintain the interim position until Gibbens officially takes the position Sept. 26.
"Eric, along with Planning Office Administrative Assistant Elsie Hawkins, will help with Stacy's training," Bradshaw said. "Once the training is complete, Eric will return to focus on his duties as a reserve officer. We took our time in hiring someone for the full-time position because we wanted to make sure the right person was hired, and I think we've done that."
About Stacy Gibbens
* Was born in Akron, Ind.
* Married Jasen Gibbens in 2001 and together they have six children.
* Has an Associate's Degree in Legal Assistance from Ball State University
* Fulton County, Ind. -- Superior Court
* Kosciusko County, Ind. -- Superior Court No. 2
* Former substitute teacher for Clay Community Schools
* Clay County Prosecutor's Office -- Child Support Division, 2005-07
* Clay Circuit Court -- June 2007-present
Fun Facts: Gibbens is an active Northview Band Booster and met her husband during Revolutionary War reenactments.