A familiar face is taking the reins of the Cortland County Planning Department.
Trisha Jesset, formerly the county’s deputy highway superintendent, is the new Director of Planning as of May 28. She was also the senior engineer at one point for the highway department, and before that was an engineering consultant for private sectors.
A Whitney Point native, Jesset attended Broome Community College before transferring to Clarkson University in Potsdam, where she got a degree in civil engineering.
The planning director position was vacant for almost a year, Jesset said. Dan Dineen, who was the previous director for over 30 years, retired last July but stayed on as an advisor.
Jesset knew the position was the right fit for her.
“I’m more than just a civil servant,” she said. “I want to give back to the community as much as I can.”
Part of the reason Jesset enjoyed the highway department “was working with the other municipalities.”
“I loved working with different towns and helping them with projects,” she said.
Jesset’s time with the highway department is what attracted her to the planning director position: the similarity in community connections.
“It seemed like there was a lot for that kind of aid in planning,” Jesset said.
Growing up not too far from the area, Jesset has a dedication and a vested interest in Cortland County.
“I want to see it progress and grow,” she said. “I want it to be a great place for everybody to live in and come to.”
About a week into the new position, Jesset is quickly realizing planning in general “is a broad spectrum of responsibilities,” noting that “no one day is the same.”
“Messages to the department can range from an address to a cemetery to an expansion coming to a large business,” she said. “I think the department has a lot to offer the residents.”
Jesset mentioned how people sometimes underestimate “how much work within the county comes through the planning department.”
The list of duties include site development projects and reviews, variance code requests, various municipal laws and even handling all of the grant agreements for the snowmobile clubs in the county.
“I think this all ties hand in hand with the engineering experience I have in my career,” Jesset said.
Jesset has had a slew of accomplishments in her career, including receiving her professional engineering license and key projects “that were nice to seal and see come to fruition.”
Those accomplishments are motivating Jesset to make things work in the county.
“It’s advantageous for them and really rewarding,” she said.