With 27 years of service to the town behind him, Building Official Jim Gilleran said goodbye Tuesday at a retirement gathering in Sullivan-Independence Hall, surrounded by co-workers, local developers and, of course, "Flat Jimmy."
While Gilleran's knowledge of the building codes was well known, he was also famous among employees of the municipal office building for his love of Christmas. Each year, he'd spend the Thanksgiving break decorating the Building Department's second-floor office with train sets, Santa Claus, Christmas stockings and whirling mobiles.
This year, a door-decorating contest was held and Gilleran served as the judge. The winner was the Health Department, which created "Flat Jimmy," a cardboard cutout of Gilleran which was photographed at various locales throughout town. "I think we're going to have to make more of them," Gilleran said. "Everybody's been asking for one."
In retirement, Gilleran said he plans to make the most of two of his passions -- golf and music -- but he has also started his own consulting company.
The business "will be helping people with getting permits and things like that," he said, especially homeowners who want to serve as their own general contractors.
After 27 years in the Building Department, 16 of them at its helm, Gilleran said he will miss all the people he worked with. He won't, he said, miss "the people you do the most for that don't appreciate it."
In addition to serving as the town building official, Gilleran was also the blight prevention officer, a job he said will likely be given to his successor, Tom Conley. Conley has served as an electrical inspector for the department, and is a former Representative Town Meeting member.
Gilleran said he has advised Conley to make sure to press the RTM for action on funding when he gives them the annual blight report. He has sought to have fines collected in connection with blight citations be deposited in a separate fund that could be used to correct blight conditions when owners can't -- or won't -- do it themselves. "I've been asking for five or six years," Gilleran said of a blight remediation fund, "and it still hasn't gotten any further. It would make the job a heck of a lot easier."
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