Butch Welch, the town of Minocqua’s longtime public works director, announced his retirement this week.
He started the job on July 13, 1987. His last day will be later this month. (Technically he retires in September, but he is taking accrued vacation to finish earlier.)
“After 27 years of working for the town it’s time for me to step down,” Welch told the town board on Tuesday.
Town Chairperson Mark Hartzheim said he would have a tough time replacing Welch.
“I just want to say, Butch, the town’s been very lucky to have you all these years,” Hartzheim said. “I don’t think there’s ever been a departure that’s going to leave bigger shoes to fill for the town.”
Welch’s position ranges widely, from maintaining roads, to keeping up buildings and parks, to ensuring piers and boat landings are functioning properly. He supervises up to 13 people during parts of the year.
“I tell people that I’m responsible for everything from bulldozers to bathing suits, and about everything in between,” Welch said.
The most fun part of the job?
“I think dealing with people,” Welch said in an interview. “You get some person that would call in and be really upset about something ... if I can talk to the person one and one and explain to them the reasons why we do different things. A lot of times, that will satisfy them. And if I leave and they’re happy, and when I arrived they’re angry, then I feel good.”
The Lakeland Times will have more on Welch’s retirement in a future edition.
Jonathan Anderson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.