Bob Guenzel worked for Washtenaw County for thirty-seven years, the last fifteen as its administrator. He’s a peppery, hands-on guy who, even his critics acknowledged, got things done–whether building the Delonis Center homeless shelter or forcing furious townships to foot more of the cost of sheriff’s patrols. When he decided, at sixty-eight, to call it quits, a couple of county commissioners suggested renaming the county administration building after him. But others objected, so the idea was canned.

Susan Pollay of the Ann Arbor DDA decided that Guenzel deserved a consolation prize. So in May she and others walked the newly retired administrator over to the county-owned parking lot at Fourth and Catherine, where they peeled the paper off a more modest memorial: a small bronze plaque. Embedded in the brick wall around the lot, it reads: “In gratitude to Robert “Bob” Guenzel / Ably Served the Citizens of Washtenaw County, 1973-2010.” Underneath, in smaller letters, is one of the administrator’s favorite quotes: “Never Underestimate the Power of a Vision.”

Pollay worked closely with commissioner Leah Gunn and Marianne James of the Ark, where Guenzel is a longtime board member. She says they wanted a location “as much a part of the community as the county,” pointing out that lots of people park after hours in the county lot, and that Guenzel frequents the People’s Food Co-op’s Cafe Verde across the street. With fitting irony, the benches next to the plaque also are a favorite hangout for local homeless men.

“It’s a nice thing,” says Guenzel, caught last month in Kerrytown. But wouldn’t he have loved having a building named after him? He smiles ruefully. “Well…”