For the public – Tracey Harper |

For the public – Tracey Harper

The Union photoTracey Harper, For the Public
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My job title: Recycling coordinator at the Nevada County Department of Transportation and Sanitation.

What I do in my job: I lead the county recycling team working toward the state’s 50 percent waste diversion mandate. Nevada County is currently at 32 percent waste diversion, and it is my job to design, develop and implement programs to divert more materials from disposal in a way that makes sense (and cents) for the county.

The highlights of our program development right now include an upcoming Materials Re-use Center, Construction and Demolition Materials Recycling drop-off, and a permanent Household Hazardous Waste facility to be constructed at the McCourtney Road Transfer Station. I am also working on a composting facility feasibility study.

We have also been working for several years with local businesses to show that through recycling they can save substantial amounts of money, thereby improving the bottom line.

Why m job is important to the public: Reducing solid waste disposal in our community is important if we are to achieve the state mandate. If we fail to do so, we face a potential fine of up to $10,000 per day. Also, from a business standpoint, waste equals lost profit. If we are successful in the coming years, we could offer free technical assistance and low cost loans for businesses that would take discarded materials and turn them into something else or reuse them.

Special skills and talents that I bring to my job: I am actually using my degree in my job. I have a degree from UC Davis in political science, public service with an emphasis in environmental policy and planning. I have worked for the California Air Resources Board and the California Integrated Waste Management Board, which are now under the California EPA umbrella.

The best part of my job is: Applying the almost two decades worth of expertise I gathered from working at Cal EPA in a positive, sensible way to the community that I live in. For years I drove past the Rood Center wondering if I would get the opportunity to do exactly what I am doing now. I am still excited to come to work each day. I am also very fortunate to work with people who are really supportive of each other. The county is fortunate to have so many hard-working, dedicated and creative people working on their behalf.

How I got my job: I have lived in the county for the better part of 10 years. When the announcement for this job was advertised, my phone rang off the hook. So many friends and colleagues called me to tell me that my job is in the paper. I applied and am happy to have been selected.

How long have I been working here: My three-year anniversary is Oct. 1.

My dream job would be: Honestly, this is my dream job. I am so happy to stop the madness of commuting and have more time to invest in my community and spend with my family.

My family: My husband, John Nuffer; step-son Russell, a junior at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo; step-daughter Rebecca, a junior at Nevada Union; and 5-year-old son, Jonathan Pierce or “JP,” a kindergartner.

My hobbies: Cooking, entertaining, reading, and spending time with my family. I am officially a soccer mom, but I don’t own a Volvo, yet.

I like living in Nevada County because: There is a sense of community. I like that when I go to the grocery store I usually run into someone I know. It took living in some big cities to find out that deep down I am a small-town girl.


“For the public” appears each Wednesday. To suggest a local civil servant to be profiled, contact Britt Retherford at or call 477-4247.

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