Employee Spotlight – Whitney Clary
Few City positions have as much direct contact with Hood River residents as the City’s Utility Billing Clerk, Whitney Clary. The City of Hood River provides water, sewer and stormwater utilities to nearly all City residents, and Clary is a bridge between these services and those who receive them.
Clary takes pride in providing quality customer service and works hard to make sure all data is captured accurately. She understands that by the time most people reach out to her, they likely have an issue with billing, a water leak, or a water meter problem. So, she always aims to keep conversations positive.
Clary deeply cares about assisting those who may need help with their bill and works with customers to find payment solutions to keep their water running. She has set up a system to track who may need assistance, makes sure they’re aware of the City’s lower income utility rate and connects them to other local resources for assistance. The City of Hood River is one of the only water utilities in the area that provides reduced rates and hopes to work to continue expanding the assistance program.
Over the last six months of working with the City, Clary has developed great admiration for the Public Works water team. “I get the pleasure of sitting behind a desk, and they’re out there, digging out meters and checking things. And they answer calls positively every time I have a request,” Clary said.
While Clary’s education focused on Fine Arts, she grew up with an appreciation for water infrastructure. Her uncle worked for the City of White Salmon as the Water Distribution Manager, and she understands the importance of having access to affordable water. Although she was raised in King County, Washington, her family has several ties to the Gorge. Her father grew up in Goldendale, and she currently has family in White Salmon and The Dalles.
Prior to joining the City of Hood River, Clary worked in customer service for Seattle Public Utilities and had her own professional organizing business. After working for Seattle for two years, she embarked on a journey to backpack the Washington portion of the Pacific Crest Trail. On her travels, she realized she needed a change. She is grateful to now live and work in Hood River, where she can bring her skills together.
In her spare time, Clary enjoys hiking and making art. Her two current favorite mediums are ceramics, and, you guessed it, watercolors.
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