Carino comes full circle, works as 'liaison' for Auburn

Glenda Carino - Robert Whale/Auburn Reporter
Glenda Carino
— image credit: Robert Whale/Auburn Reporter

Glenda Carino recently started for the City of Auburn as its public affairs and marketing manager.

If you don't know exactly what a PA&MM does, you will soon enough.

Brows in a tangle about some complex city matter? Carino'll answer your query or connect you to the subject matter guru who'll untangle those troubled brows.

Perhaps you're one those irksome media types sweating BBs about a press release. Carino writes them and ships them out. Need to set up an interview? She's the one who'll arrange it for you.

Or just maybe you're the mayor, Carino's boss, and you need some talking points for a ribbon cutting.

"I don't put my face on TV, though my job description says 'official spokesperson,'" Carino said. "I work with my boss, the mayor, and if he wants to talk, he talks. If he thinks that the public works director should talk, he talks.

"I am kind of the liaison: I make sure the city workers are ready. Some of the city workers don't like to be on TV or interviewed, so I help them get ready to be on.

"It's nerve wracking. You guys are scary," Carino said to the Reporter staff.

Auburn hired Carino away from the City of Puyallup, where she had spent the last nine years as a public affairs officer. Before that, she was in Alaska for 20 years

Actually, Carino is no stranger to Auburn. Way back in 1970, when Auburn had just one high school, she graduated from it. After graduation, Carino went to work at Seattle Community College and from there made her way to school at Western Washington University in Bellingham.

Turns out, one of Carino's passions was radio, and she soon found herself on a student radio program.

"I remember a professor telling me I would never make it because my voice was 'too sweet.' So I asked for a Sennheiser microphone and boosted the bass," Carino said with a laugh.

Rain-on-her-dream professor or not, Carino became one of the the first female disk jockeys for KISM Radio in Bellingham.

"They put me on the graveyard shift, and it was really fun," Carino recalled. "But I kind of got turned off to commercial radio when they made me the host of a wet T-shirt contest at one of the local taverns."

Time in 'Little Norway'

Continuing her northward trek, Carino made it to Petersburg, Alaska, a town of 3,500 souls, known to the locals as "Little Norway." She went to work on a public radio station there and eventually moved up to news director.

"It was a little, tiny radio station. Once the governor of Alaska came to speak. He used our station, and the engineer told me, 'Hey, Glenda, come in here for a moment. I need you. The governor is going to be broadcasting throughout the state, and we have to patch it in, and I don't have enough hands.' And he had me hold together some wires all the time the governor was speaking."

Next move was to Juneau, and a job as news director for another public radio station.

"You hear a lot of former Alaskan radio reporters on NPR. Peter Kenyon was one of my reporters, Elizabeth Arnold, was a national political reporter before quitting NPR and returning to Alaska to become a freelancer," Carino said.

One day Garrison Keillor of Prairie Home Companion fame typed his monologue at Carino's desk.

"He had to have a typewriter to write about what was going on in Lake Woebegone. So he sat at my desk and wrote his monologue. He wrote it in about a half-hour. And when he taped the show, he didn't use one note, he did it all in his head. And no, I didn't ask for a photo, I was too embarrassed."

Realizing there was no upward mobility in her reporting career in Alaska, Carino accepted a job as a media liaison and speechwriter for a state senator in Ketchikan. When the state senator moved on to Washington D.C. to work for Sen. Don Young, Carino accepted a job as a marketing director and sound designer for Perseverance Theater in Juneau.

Eventually, she decided to return to her roots.

Working for a city like Auburn, she says, suits her to a tee.

"You're a lot more accountable than when you work for a county or a state. I like looking out the window and seeing the work that the City does right out there. You do what you have to do, but what you do really affects your neighbors and friends right there, and they'll look you right in the face and tell you what they think about it. And I really like that," Carino said.


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