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‘The place won’t be the same without you,’ Kelowna city clerk retiring

Stephen Flemming has been with the city for 21 years, and city clerk since 2008
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Retiring Kelowna City Clerk Stephen Flemming and his wife Rachel (centre) with members of council and staff following a council meeting on Feb. 26, 2024. (Gary Barnes/Captial News)

Laughter and tears at Kelowna council’s regular meeting on Feb. 26 as it was publicly announced that City Clerk Stephen Flemming is retiring.

“He’s been a mentor, a leader and a friend to many people in this organization,” said City Manager Doug Gilchrist in a tribute to Flemming.

Flemming has spent nearly 21 years at city hall, starting as the deputy city clerk in 2003, acting city clerk from 2004 to 2005 and then being named to the position in July 2008.

“A lot of mixed emotions, a lot of time in this room (council chambers),” Flemming noted. “I wasn’t sure what today was going to be like, but it’s been a very nice day.”

Several city staff gathered in chambers to recognize Flemming and hear the many accolades from councillors.

Rick Webber noted that Flemming was of tremendous assistance to him before and after the 2023 municipal election.

“Anybody looking for help will find a very human person giving them human advice,” said an emotional Webber.“The place won’t be the same without you.”

“He’s always been that steady Eddie…balanced, never political and always with the best intentions for the citizens of Kelowna,” Loyal Wooldridge said.

“I will miss your unique demeanour, your calmness…sense of humour and wealth of knowledge,” Maxine DeHart added through tears.

“Stephen has always been there, his wisdom has always been there,” said Charlie Hodge.

“For me, you’ve always been one of the pillars of our city,” Luke Stack said. “We lean upon you, you hold us up. I think all of us owe you a great debt of gratitude.”

Mayor Tom Dyas praised Flemming for his leadership when he first took office.

“He was always there for me when I had a question…and led me down the right path. I cannot thank you enough for everything you’ve done for me.”

Flemming said he has seen a lot over his more than two decades at city hall and that he will miss the daily interactions that his job affords him.

“You never know what’s going to happen, you’re not doing the same thing all the time, there is a lot of variety.”

He added he is not ready to fully retire.

“I’ll continue teaching courses in local government through Capilano University and we’re going to take a couple of months off, Rachel (his wife) and I, and figure out what I want to do next.”

Flemming drew laughter from staff members and councillors with a short but heartfelt speech.

“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 be here this afternoon. There are far too many people to thank, we’d be here for an awful long time, so I’ll just thank Rachel.”

Flemming will retire from his position at the end of March.

Current Deputy City Clerk Laura Bentley will be Kelowna’s new city clerk.

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Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Recently joined Kelowna Capital News and WestK News as a multimedia journalist in January 2022. With almost 30 years of experience in news reporting and radio broadcasting...
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