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Pleasant Hills mayor calls it quits after long political career

Dona S. Dreeland | South Hills Record
Pleasant Hills Mayor Warren Bourgeois, 82, has begun his retirement after 32 years of government service to the borough. Reading, traveling, work around the house and 12 grandchildren will keep him and his wife busy.

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Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
 

Warren Bourgeois has relinquished his longtime role as Pleasant Hills mayor.

Thirty-two years have passed since Bourgeois, 82, became engaged in municipal government. He served 10 of his 16 council years on the finance committee and contributed to other committees. During his four terms as mayor, he oversaw the police department.

“I've spent more than half my adult life in this room,” he said of the council chamber where borough officials gather to conduct business.

This month, Rob Bootay, another Republican, will be sworn in as mayor.

Bourgeois began his years of community service by joining the Pleasant Hills Athletic Recreation Association, when his only son belonged to the league. The fields needed lights, so he and others worked to make that happen. That success was his introduction to making community improvements.

Later, he said, he helped to press state officials for changes at a dangerous intersection near Jefferson Memorial Cemetery and Funeral Home off Curry Hollow Road. A turning lane and traffic light eventually were added.

“Nothing happens until a tragedy,” he said, telling how a neighbor's auto accident got him involved. The driver, who was trying to make a left turn, was killed when the car was hit broadside.

The push for safety improvements took more than 12 years, he said, and changes were completed in 2012.

“Every time I drive down there, I feel a sense of accomplishment,” he said.

A 50-year resident of the borough, Bourgeois and his wife, Eileen, reared six children. He worked as an engineer at Westinghouse's Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory in West Mifflin for 42 years.

He hopes he brought enthusiasm and integrity to his role on council, “not that they weren't there to start with,” he said.

“It was fulfilling,” he said of his more than three decades in local government. “You meet a lot of nice people. You do it because you think it's good. There's a little ego involved, too.”

He's grateful for the trust residents placed in him.

William Trimbath, who has served on council for 16 years, applauded Bourgeois' length of service and efforts.

“We really appreciated his 30-plus years of service and his perspective on how the borough should be run,” he said. “He always had the interests of the borough at heart.”

At the Dec. 16 meeting, Bourgeois promised council he wouldn't sit in the audience after his term ends.

“The 32 years involved with council have given me great satisfaction and moments of frustration,” he said. “But the positive has exceeded the negative. I would do the journey again.”

Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5803 or ddreeland@tribweb.com.

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