Outgoing Kelowna city manager Ron Mattiussi packs up his office Wednesday morning. His last day with the city, after 22 years, is Thursday. —Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

Kelowna city manager bids adieu

City staff and council turn out to give Ron Mattiussi a standing ovation

After 22 years with the City of Kelowna, the last 11 as city manager, Ron Mattiussi called it a career Thursday.

Mattiussi, who came to Kelowna from Edmonton in 1996 to take over as city’s planning director, sat in on his last council meeting Monday and many city staff members packed the gallery to give him a standing ovation.

Mayor Colin Basran paid tribute to Mattiussi, saying a mark of his tenure in the city’s top bureaucratic job was that he treated everyone with respect.

“You have meant a great deal to all of us in your capacity not only as city manger, but also as a friend,” said Basran.

The mayor’s comments, at the start of the council meeting, led to the standing ovation by the staff in the gallery and council members. Mattiussi appeared moved by the send off, and at one point had to retrieve a box of tissues.

Mattiussi said he will not likely back in city hall too often after he retires, preferring to leave the running of the city to others and not cast a shadow over his replacement.

“I probably will be a stranger,” he said. “I’ll let you guys move on, and somebody else pick up the torch.”

He said it has been an honour working for the city and he paid tribute to the staff he has worked with, calling them the best in the country.

At the end of what turned out to be a lengthy council meeting, Mattiussi joked if he ever got a hankering to return to public life, he would just break out a tape of Monday’s council meeting to convince him to stay away.

The four-hour meeting included a 2 1/2-hour debate on proposals to amend a city bylaw governing panhandlers and buskers.

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