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A hard good-bye for Cypress County as Bleau announces retirement

Posted on September 30, 2014 by 40 Mile Commentator

By Carlie Connolly

The first one in the office early in the morning and the last one to leave. A steady hardworking person and an individual who has worked in the office of Cypress County for 30 years. The director of public works, Rick Bleau will be retiring at the end of this year after a long and impressive 30 years.

Bleau was the first employee hired by the county other than the employees that came directly over from the improvement district administration. He then hired a bunch of other employees. He was the first guy in January of 85, building up the office and hired grader operators out in the field. He also hired their oiling foreman and gravel foreman. He’s seen a lot of people come and go and has had a number of different offices in the building over the years. His fellow workers had nothing but positivity when sharing their thoughts of him.

Doug Henderson, assistant chief administrative officer of Cypress County said that one of the interesting things about Bleau is that he was rarely ever sick.

“I bet you could probably count the number of days he was sick on one hand in 30 years.”

In the years Henderson has known Bleau, he said that he’s done an excellent job at his various tasks.

“His knowledge on road construction and running equipment is second to none.”

He also thought he has been exceptional at his job and quick too. Henderson said he was a fast mover, almost running in the office, getting his tasks completed quickly.

Bob Olsen, the reeve has known Bleau for four years and said he’s a very steady and hardworking man.

“He’s always a really get er done type guy. If there was something to do, he would always go and just do it.  This has always been his attitude with contactors and employees. If they were working for Rick, there was stuff happening.”

He also said that he put up continuously with peoples complaints, always listening and never pushing them aside.

Councilor, LeRay Pahl said he knows Bleau as a very conscientious type, keeping the council informed of things he feels are important.

“You can’t fault anything that he’s done, he looks after the county very well. I think he’s done a great job.”

Richard Oster, another councilor for the county recalled a highlight he had known of Bleau being a fast driver. One time being when he travelled out to the U.S border, Bleau went out to look at a project he was doing and having been on the road a while and getting closer to Onefour, he asked the man beside him travelling in his car if he wanted to stop for a snack and the man said, ‘well the stewardess hasn’t served us anything yet so I guess we might as well.’ Meaning Bleau was just flying down the road.

Jack Osadczuk, who used to be the reeve at Cypress County for over 20 years, said that he was a dependable employee and a good guy to work with.

“He was always a happy person and got along good with everybody, he’s going to be a big loss. They are going to lose a great guy there.”

Gary Lentz, another councilor for the county said that over the years he used to get calls from ratepayers concerned about their roads being either rough or with potholes. In the winter, concerns being with snow plowing. Occasionally Lentz said that people aren’t happy with coming after the more important roads like main roads or in a school area. And so, he called Bleau to see when plowing will get done or the road maintained. Lentz could then get back to the ratepayer with a good response.

He also mentioned how Bleau will be hard to replace.

“He’s been totally dedicated to the job. It’s going to be really difficult to find somebody to replace him that’s going to be anywhere near as dedicated to the job as he has been.”

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