SALEM — News flash.
Dick Rennard is retiring.
If you don’t know Mr. Rennard, he’s the gentleman you can thank — him and his crew — for the city being spotless the morning after Halloween.
If you don’t think his retirement is a big deal, consider this. As director of the Department of Public Works, he is in charge of some aspect of just about everything that makes this city go.
Think city streets, parks, playgrounds, cemeteries, sewer mains and pumping stations. Think snowstorms, floods and street sweeping.
These are the folks who get more than their share of complaints, but who really deserve the credit for keeping the city shipshape.
Rennard, 61, came here in 1982 to manage Greenlawn Cemetery. A certified arborist, he was later named city tree warden, and soon was in charge of cemeteries, trees and open space. In 2006, Mayor Kim Driscoll named him director of the DPW — or, technically, the Department of Public Services.
Rennard, who retires at the end of the month, is widely respected — credit he shares with his staff of nearly 40. “I have been very fortunate to have a great group working with me,” he said.
He started his career in his hometown of Wakefield and has spent more than 40 years in municipal service.
His exit is another blow for the city. Earlier this fall, Doug Bollen resigned as head of parks and recreation.
The only good news for the city is that Rennard is not taking his wife with him. Beth Rennard will stay on as city solicitor.
Do you remember the story last month about the pizza delivery guy who was robbed at knifepoint near Salem State University?
The Domino’s driver said he was near Bowditch Hall on Loring Avenue on the night of Oct. 11 when a skinny, white guy with a beard flashed a silver knife and took $40 in cash.