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A life of leisure
been four weeks since Reg LeQuieu retired from the assessor’s
position in Klamath County government.
Name: Reg LeQuieu
Family: Wife of 40 years Carol; sons Nathan, 35, and Marc, 32; two grandsons, ages 8 and 5.
Education: Graduated from Malin High School in 1964, college at Southern Oregon University in 1968.
Service: Served in the Army in intelligence from 1969 to 1972.
Hobbies: Horseback riding, camping, fly fishing, hunting, exploring.
History: About 8 ½ years ago, Reg was diagnosed with leukemia.
He is having success with experimental drugs and has been in
remission for nine months. “I feel good,” he said, adding he did
not retire for reasons related to the cancer. “I’m doing fine.”
Reg LeQuieu’s time as assessor began as he was tiring of a 22-year career in real estate.
“I had some nice successes along the way, but I was getting burned out,” he said.
LeQuieu wanted some time to himself, and the demanding hours were taking their toll.
At the same time, various people in the community, from real estate agents to employees in the assessor’s office, kept popping up and encouraging him to run for assessor.
“All of a sudden it started to get a little bit interesting,” LeQuieu recalled. He and his wife, Caro,l took off for Aspen Ridge the weekend before the deadline to file and came back ready to run a campaign.
LeQuieu challenged an incumbent who had been appointed to fill the assessor’s vacancy and another who sought to win the seat.
“It was a spirited campaign,” he said. He was unopposed during subsequent re-election bids.
“The good thing was that I was on a set schedule and I had my
weekends available,” LeQuieu said of the transition to elected
As assessor, he passed raises on to employees
In 2004, when a 3 percent raise was approved for elected officials, but no other county employees, Req LeQuieu turned his down.
“Two years later, they gave us a 10 percent raise,” LeQuieu recalled. He asked to take 3 percent instead, the equivalent of about $90 a month after taxes and contributions. LeQuieu requested the other 7 percent of his raise be distributed among his staff.
That was not possible.
In the end, LeQuieu had the 7 percent — $210 a month — withdrawn from his paycheck and placed in an account. At the end of the year, he distributed the $1,000 in the account among all of his employees as a Christmas bonus.
He did that again the following year, but had more saved up because it was an entire year’s worth, giving each employee a $168 Christmas bonus. He did so again last year, with each employee receiving a $180 bonus.
“It appeared I had taken the raise anyway, but that’s how I used it,” he said. “Over three years, I gave away more than $6,000 in bonuses.”
LeQuieu said when he left office he reminded his employees that
they could not expect any other boss to do the same. “But it was
fun to do and I thought under the circumstances, fair,” he said.
LeQuieu served county well as its assessor
5/29/09 - On May 1, a milestone was reached that was little noticed by the public. After almost 15 years of service, Reg LeQuieu retired from his position as Klamath County Assessor. Since property value assessment determines how much each owner pays in taxes, his job was, by definition, thankless. But we have good reason to be appreciative of Reg’s service.
The most that a constituency might reasonably expect from civic employees is that they carry out their duties with diligence and fairness. But we have got ten more from this official and his staff. “We’re from the government, and we’re here to help” is the well-known punch line to a cynical joke. But from the beginning of his tenure, Reg conveyed this attitude to his team: “The taxpayers don’t work for us; we work for them.”
This perspective has been evidenced in Reg’s commitment to communication. Through town hall meetings and op ed essays, he has endeavored to explain to property owners how our system works. Attentive listening and patient instruction have helped citizens to understand how legal guidelines apply to our local situations.
Reg’s life was complicated in 2000 by the onset of chronic myelogenous leukemia. A well-trained and dedicated staff enabled him to fulfill his duties even as he endured a bone-marrow transplant and participated in field tests of specialized drugs. I share Reg’s gratitude to God for the success of these treatments in bringing about complete remission. (Otherwise, I would have written his eulogy rather than this commendation.)
In the conduct of his duties, Reg’s character and faith have translated into integrity in the execution of his responsibilities, sincerity in his dealings with citizens, courage in the face of personal challenges, and support and generosity toward his staff. Klamath County has been wellserved by his faithfulness.
J. Robin Maxson Senior Pastor United Evangelical Free Church
Page Updated: Sunday June 07, 2009 03:31 AM Pacific
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