Slightly more than 21 years ago Elliott Smart was introduced to the residents of Plumas County in this newspaper, and now he is featured again — this time after being recognized by the Board of Supervisors for his two decades-plus of work as the county’s Social Services director.
A newspaper article that ran Oct. 1, 1997 quoted Smart as saying he chose to work in social services because he “believes in the value of it.”
He had been working in Humboldt County, but wanted a change. He chose Quincy because of “the beautiful old courthouse” and the town, which was “extremely appealing.”
For the next two decades he would spend a lot of time in that courthouse, presenting his quarterly reports to the supervisors and appearing before them on a host of issues.
During the board’s Oct. 16 meeting, the supervisors presented him with a resolution of appreciation and dedication in front of his staff, family and friends.
As Social Services director, Smart oversaw child and adult protective services, as well as the county’s welfare program. When the economy took a downturn in 2008 and was slow to revive locally, Smart often expressed concern for the new names that would appear; people he knew who had lost their jobs and needed assistance for the first time in their lives.
The supervisors lauded his commitment to those in need for “always ensuring the most vulnerable populations received proper food, clothing, shelter, health care and financial representation.”
That was his life’s calling. During his 1997 interview, Smart said, “I come from a family tradition of service; it’s in my blood.”
Smart often shared his empathy for the most vulnerable in the Where I Stand section of this newspaper. Children — those in the foster care system and those who were abused — were of particular focus. He would share with the community ways that his department was working to protect the children, but also how community members could do their part as well.
A child abuse case that landed in Plumas County would impact Smart and his staff deeply. In December of 2015, sheriff’s personnel and child protective services responded to a report of an abused girl in East Quincy. She was rescued from the situation, but it led to the discovery of her two deceased
siblings in a storage locker in Redding. The case drew national attention and following the subsequent murder trial, Smart issued a statement: “The verdicts reached by the jurors have put an end to a horrific episode that led to the tragic murder of two young children.
“This event could have been far more horrendous had it not been for the good work done by the Plumas County Sheriff, District Attorney and Child Protective Services in further investigating the circumstances surrounding one of the surviving children and how she acquired suspicious injuries.”
Smart’s office would continue to follow the progress of the young girl and he has been able to report that she is doing well.
In addition to his work within the county, Smart served on a number of statewide boards and organizations.
The supervisors recognized that work and lauded Smart for his “compassion and service to promote the well-being of children, families and individuals in Plumas County and California” and wished him well in retirement — a retirement that will no doubt include hiking, biking and traveling with his wife Jody.