Kelowna city clerk Stephen Fleming is retiring after 16 years

City clerk calls it a career

After presiding over nearly a thousand city council meetings over a 21 year career, Kelowna city clerk Stephen Fleming is ready for a new chapter in his life.

Fleming, who came to the city as deputy clerk in 2003 before taking over the reigns of the department in 2008, sat through his final council meeting Monday afternoon with a packed gallery of staff and well wishers looking on.

"I want to thank everyone for coming out, particularly those of you who are playing hooky from your other places of gainful employment to make the effort to come here this afternoon, I do appreciate that," said Fleming after each member of council had a chance to sing his praises.

"It's been a pleasure and I think if you get a chance to leave on your terms then that's good."

Fleming served as deputy clerk upon his arrival and acting city clerk for two years before taking over from Allison Flack in 2008.

The city clerk is responsible for managing and preserving official records and documents of a municipality, providing access to information, managing local elections and executing legal documents.

Story behind the ties

There were several references made to ties during the meeting with community safety director Darren Caul proudly stating he was wearing one of Stephen's ties.

"I was known for wearing a tie to start with and my ties usually had some kind of story or theme to them.

"They were historical, my favourite rock band or something like that. So Darren Caul had the idea to wear one of my ties for the afternoon meeting so I brought in a bunch and they chose which one they wanted to wear."

Mixed emotions

"There are a lot of mixed emotions," Fleming said of his last day in council chambers.

He reflected on those who helped him get to where he is.

"It's been a very nice day from when I got here until now and nice that people came out. It will be good to catch up with some people."

Fleming says he'll probably miss the interactions with people most.

"With this job you never know what's going to happen. It's not doing the same things all the time."

Fleming calls the retirement a semi-retirement. He still plans to continue teaching courses in local government at Capilano University and says he and his wife Rachel will take a few months off before he decides what's next.

He will remain in the clerk's office until his last official day at the end of March.

Deputy clerk Laura Bentley will replace Fleming as the new city clerk.

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