Tony Pagliocco: Federal Way City Council Pos. 7

‘Federal Way welcomed us … this new chapter of our life started here in Federal Way.’

Tony Pagliocco, who is vying for the Federal Way City Council Pos. 7 seat against Linda Kochmar, recently sat down with the Mirror to answer the following questions:

What motivates you to run for this position on the council?

Nearly six years ago, Pagliocco’s daughter was walking home from school in Renton when she was hit by a car that was driven by an opioid addict. This accident left her paralyzed from the waist down. Pagliocco and his family relocated to a disability accessible home in Federal Way.

“Federal Way welcomed us … this new chapter of our life started here in Federal Way.”

Pagliocco wants to focus on both immediate and future changes.

Getting involved with council is a way he can play a transformational role while also collaborating with other council members and the community.

“Not everyone is going to be happy all the time with the decisions that are made and sometimes you have to make difficult decisions to advance, but you have to have the difficult conversations and I think I’m capable of having those.”

What skills or experience would you bring to the council?

With more than 20 years of experience in the technology sector, Pagliocco has worked on problem solving to product management for a number of global companies. Currently he oversees a team of 20 product managers in data science space at Boeing, building artificial intelligence software for factories and supply chains.

“It’s very similar to how being on the council would work too: you’re trying to drive the experience of your residents and you’re doing it through policy, you’re doing it through tough decisions.”

He has served on the Civil Service Commission, the Human Services Commission and on the Ethics Board. He is a member of the Federal Way Rotary and serves on the board for the Federal Way Symphony.

Describe your top three objectives and how you plan to address those.

Public safety, technology improvements and vocational jobs are the top three issues.

“Public safety in my eyes is paramount. It’s one of the biggest issues I’m hearing out on the doors, it’s one of the biggest issues I see within the city right now, and I feel that we need to renew the confidence in our public safety. We need to be known as a city that takes public safety extremely seriously.”

With technology, he will find ways for the city to implement technology and use more data-driven products to make more efficient decisions.

“But also looking at bringing in new systems that will help drive us to a smart city model,” he said, noting that this model allows for an interconnected city through technology, which helps with areas such as traffic management, permitting and service tickets.

Looking at vocational and youth programs, he has wanted to drive a program for a long time wherein the city would partner with local tech giants to build cohorts “to have us drive and build new products and new implementations of technology in the city, but use it as a resume builder for these youth … who want to get back in the workforce under a new employment model.”

What are your top concerns about public safety and what steps would you take to address these concerns?

Pagliocco’s biggest issue with public safety is the “lack of balance between compassion and consequence.”

“For the most part, we want to help people who need help, and if somebody asks for help, which is an incredibly brave step, I feel that we should take the five steps to give them the help that they need. The problem is that we have too many people who don’t want the help and instead are making it tougher for the people who actually need the help.”

Panhandling is also a public safety concern. The city needs to enforce stricter policy and use models in other states to combat the issue. For those who want help, “we can show compassion, but if that’s not going to be utilized, we have to look at consequence then, and we have to find ways to make sure that people who want the help are getting the help.”

The city’s police staffing level is also too low.

How should Federal Way improve economic development and attract businesses?

“If someone is saving money for their own business, and they come to Federal Way looking at properties and the first thing they see is a panhandling problem right off the highway, they’re going to be less likely to want to invest that money.”

New businesses look at city’s crime rates, so the city should make an impression that Federal Way is a city that cares about its businesses.

Is the city’s permitting process effective and, if not, what are your solutions to improve this process?

“As the city has grown, there’s been a lot of areas that lag behind in terms of catching up technology-wise.”

The city has an opportunity to significantly improve the permitting process by utilizing mobile technology. The city should look towards programs like City Grows, an online platform that allows users to track where they stand in the permitting process via their phone. This is a subscription service that would only cost the city about $15,000 per year.

Do you support marijuana retailers opening in Federal Way?

“Cannabis stores are the 2019 version of the liquor store. You have to be over 21, it’s regulated by the state and like it or not, to be honest, kids are going to get it if they want to and it won’t be from the stores …”

Some people overestimate the amount of tax revenue that could be generated from the retail stores, he said. He’s looked at cities such as Yakima, which has eight stores, “and their generated income was under $200,000. We’re talking about four stores in Federal Way, so I think we need to be very realistic about what the financial implications are, but also I think that the crime aspect has been overblown in some cases as well …”

His daughter uses cannabis for her spinal injury and “I would much rather have her using that than using hardcore narcotics.”

Homelessness has been an ongoing issue in Federal Way. What is your plan to address it?

“We need to be mindful that homelessness doesn’t just mean the encampments. Homelessness doesn’t just mean the panhandlers. Homelessness is also the family of four that’s sleeping in a car, and then going to school in the morning the next day.”

On the Human Services Commission, he’s seen the city take a big chunk of money and split it up between a lot of organizations. He said the city could improve this process by reducing the number of organizations the city grants money to so those organizations will have more money to put programs into place for an extended period.

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