Susan Destin to retire after more than 25 years of service with the city of Destin

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

After nearly 30 years, Susan Destin will be walking out the door at the city of Destin for the last time on May 13. 

Destin, the permit license administrator, is retiring after 28 years with the city. 

Destin was hired in August of 1993 by then-city manager Philip Cook and has enjoyed her time as a city employee. 

On Friday, May 13, Susan Destin will be walking out the door at the city of Destin after 28 years of service.

“I’ve truly enjoyed working at the city. I’ve loved serving the people. It’s been a pleasure, but it’s time,” Destin said. “I’m not leaving, I’m just leaving this building.” 

Destin started with the city back when city hall was located at 100 Harbor Boulevard, in the two-story building that now houses Coyote Ugly. 

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She started as a receptionist, then moved over to work for Dave Bazylak as the harbor waterways board secretary. 

Her next step with the city was to the building division where she helped to send out business licenses and renewals. 

“I was hired in the building division right before Opal,” Destin said. 

Hurricane Opal, a Category 4 storm, blasted the Emerald Coast on Oct. 4, 1995. It turned Destin upside down, displacing boats to parking lots, and cars underwater in some cases. The storm surge had pushed the sugar white sands of the beach up on to U.S. 98 and beyond. 

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Although Destin was now working in the building department, she said, “It was 24/7 for quite a few weeks. You weren’t necessarily in the permit department; you were everywhere. It was a struggle but we made it through.” 

Destin’s job with the city has evolved over the years. 

As the permit license administrator, she makes sure that contractors who are applying for permits are properly licensed and insured. She also makes sure they submit the required documentation for permitting. 

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“I make sure everything is in order,” she said. 

Her job has been a bit trying since they moved over to a new operating system. 

“It’s been trying … it is making things easier now, quicker. People are getting what they want in a timelier fashion,” Destin said. 

“Opal was quite challenging … the only thing more challenging was going to the new system, only because I’m a creature of habit. After you’ve been doing something the same way for so long … it’s hard to get in the groove. 

Susan Destin will be retiring from the city of Destin as the Building Permit Administrator. May 13 is her last day at work.

“I don’t like change and I’m not tech savvy, but I know enough to get the job done,” Destin said. 

And she’s done the job for 28 years and has enjoyed it. 

“I like serving the people, serving the customer, the contractors, the businesses. I believe in customer service. I believe that is why we are here to serve the customer,” Destin said. 

But it’s time to step away from the job. 

Destin said she is going to be 65 in July and “it’s time for me to slow down just a bit."

“I’ll miss the customers and the interaction with the customers. And of course, the friends I have made here, some that are not here any longer, going to miss the people I work with,” she said. 

And Destin will be missed by city staff.

"She has always cared deeply about her hometown of Destin and doing the best job she can to keep it moving in the right direction," said City Manager Lance Johnson. "She has never hesitated to put in the extra hours or to go the extra mile to get things done right and in a timely fashion.

"She has been at the heart and soul of our Building Division during her tenure with the city and has contributed greatly to our community as a whole outside of work," he added. "We will miss having her wisdom and knowledge here at the City but hope nothing but the best for her in her retirement."

As for her plans for retirement, “time with grandchildren” is on the list as well as spending time with Jim Evans fishing on Pittman Creek north of Bonifay.