Departing officials have served Beloit and leave it better.
The past week brought news that two respected and effective city officials will be stepping down from their respective positions.
After more than 30 years Andrew Janke will retire in January from his job as Beloit’s economic development director. And after five years Beloit Police Chief David Zibolski has accepted a similar position in Fargo, North Dakota.
Initially, Janke filled the post of director of the Downtown Beloit Association, when the DBA was new to its task of improving the central commercial district. Over the years that effort has borne considerable fruit, to the point downtown Beloit is now the envy of the region as a commercial and entertainment center.
Janke took over the economic development post in 2001, and in the intervening years incredible progress has been made. Janke would be the first to acknowledge economic development is a team game, and the private sector plays the key investment role. But Janke shined in the role of government facilitator, and has been crucial to putting together deals large and small.
Zibolski came to Beloit at a time of turmoil, with the charge of improving policing procedure while building stronger bridges with community stakeholders. Truth is, policing is akin to the game of whack-a-mole, because crime is never really defeated, only contained. But good policing can make a difference in both the reality of public safety and the image of a community. Zibolski is leaving the department stronger than he found it, and relations with the community are better, too.
Both Janke and Zibolski have served Beloit well. Let them know it’s appreciated.