Rene Beliveau is retiring this week after one of the toughest gigs in San Juan County government - being the Director of the Community Development and Planning Department. He deserves a round of thanks from the community.
He's kept the department going during a very stressful time. During his tenure the county drastically cut staff and budgets. The structure of government changed. From six part-time council members with a full-time administrator to three full-time council members with a full-time manager. An interim adminstrator/manager for a year. At least 11 different people serving as council members. Everyone with different ideas of what the priorities should be for CD&P.
The department plowed through a number of hot issues including the code enforcement ordinance. The long process of the update to the Critical Areas ordinance was completed and moved on to the inevitable court challenges.
Unfortunately some citizens felt entitled to launch personal attacks ranging from vicious slander to absurd allegations. Some of the fringe element of the community got all stirred up believing he was (gasp) Canadian. In fact he moved to the U.S. as a young boy and later served in the U.S. Coast Guard.
Beliveau took the hostility and the nonsense in stride. And with his staff improved services for the public.
The county Council will be recognizing Beliveau for his years of service at their council meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday, October 22 in the Legislative Building at 55 Second Street in Friday Harbor.