January 4, 2008
GOFFSTOWN - When Ed Neveu took on the job of Building Inspector and Health Officer more than 14 years ago, it was supposed to have been his “retirement” job.
After building homes for 39 years, not having to get up at 4:30 a.m. seemed like an easier pace of life, said Neveu.
But as of Jan. 3, Neveu retired from his retirement job and looking forward to taking some time off.
“I think it’s time to pass the baton,” he said. “Now it’s time to kick back.”
He said the town is reviewing three or four “very solid” candidates and that Mark Tessier, who serves as assistant building inspector, is very capable of stepping up to the plate during the interim.
He began thinking of retiring several years ago when he had back surgery and seriously discussed searching for a new inspector about eight or nine months ago.
At 77, Neveu maintained a challenging schedule that frequently sent him out on six or seven inspections in the morning and six or seven more in the the afternoon, along with paperwork, sending out notices and plan reviewing, which he often did at home in the evenings. In addition to new building safety inspections, he also performed health inspections, daycare inspections and septic care inspections.
When Neveu came in 1993, the economy was just starting to pick up and banks were getting reestablished. He felt there was a level of service that needed to be provided and that he could make a difference.
“I feel I did (make a difference). I’m happy with the progress and the amount of service we’ve provided,” he said.
Though the codes are now more uniform throughout the state, he’s proud of the fact that Goffstown was often a bit ahead of the state, and that the forms are up to code and are available online.
“He’s so willing to learn,” said Sue Sole, building and health inspection secretary, who pointed out that some older people refuse to touch a computer. “We will never be able to fill his shoes as far as being nice.”
Neveu compared his role to that of a goodwill ambassador.
“You got to tell them how to keep the house safe, how to have a good job or a good product, and make sure they achieve what the product is intended to do,” he said.
“And,” he said, “to do this with a smile.”
“We’re definitely going to miss him,” said Fire Inspector Lt. Bill Connor, who worked with Neveu for more than 10 years.
Connor said many people described Neveu as being very friendly and educational when helping them through the inspection process.
Tessier seconded that observation, describing Neveu as a very consistent, kind, patient and knowledgeable individual.
“Those qualities are going to be hard to find in any one individual,”said Tessier. “He’s been quite a mentor to me over the years.”
Town Administrator Sue Desruisseaux described Neveu as always a professional.
“He’s always there to assist and help in any way needed,” she said.
Neveu said he wants to take the next couple months off and spend more time with his wife, Lorraine, and family, which includes six children, 15 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He might eventually start a third career, but hasn’t made any specific plans.
“You make plans and the gods are laughing,” he said.
He does look forward to playing golf in the spring and taking his grandson out to the greens, something he was too busy to do before, he said.
But for now, he said he’ll enjoy sleeping in until 7:30 a.m. Maybe even 7:45 a.m.
Reproduced by the Goffstown