Middletown has new employee

Michele Snyder learned her job through hands on experience —  working her way up from the ground level.

Snyder is Middletown’s new assistant zoning administrator. She was hired part time and started her job Jan. 16.

“I love it. I have a great team. Everyone has been so welcoming,” Snyder said.

Town administrators and the council decided to hire another person in the zoning department to help with increased building activity, such as the Village of Middletown subdivision.

One of the first items on Snyder’s to do list is to work to make sure accessing needed applications and information is as user friendly as possible, including via the website.

“People can know prior to coming in they know what they need to have with them,” Snyder said.

That is in line with one of the goals of the town.

“We hoped to modernize our zoning department and with hiring Michelle she has started to fulfill that hope. We are scanning documents and getting things digitized for the future,” Middletown Mayor Charles Hargrove said.

They are also beginning a succession plan for the department and current zoning director Fred Wharton, who is 80 years old.

“Fred has served the town very well and will continue to do so in the future but we would like for his knowledge and experience to be passed down to Michelle,” he said.

Snyder, however, comes to the town already well-trained and experienced, Hargrove said.

“She is off to a great start,” Hargrove said.

Snyder works with Wharton reviewing zoning permits for construction activity  such as interior, exterior and building alterations.

Her journey into zoning began in the small town of Purcellville in Loudoun County.

Snyder started in Purcellville’s Finance Department in a temporary position while an employee was out on maternity leave. When that employee came back, the town wanted to keep Snyder and found her a permanent position as the town’s zoning technician.

“I learned the job from the ground up,” Snyder said.

She was in Purcellville for four years until she started working for the bigger community of Leesburg as its zoning analyst, making sure applications meet the town’s ordinances.

“In Leesburg, in our zoning department we had 12 employees,” Snyder said.