Kelowna’s deputy city manager has called it a career in local government after nearly 28 years at city hall.
Paul Macklem, is heading to Victoria to become the executive director of the Government Finance Officer’s Association of B.C.
“I figured it was just time,” said Macklem of his decision to leave city hall after nearly three decades. His last day was March 11.
Macklem said the new job was not the reason he decided to leave the city. He had planned to retire and was then offered the GFOA job.
Macklem, 60, served in a number of senior management positions during his time the City of Kelowna, starting in 1988 as it budget manager, then becoming its deputy finance director, finance director, general manager of corporate sustainability and finally deputy city manager.
Prior to being named deputy city manager, Macklem was seconded to run the Central Okanagan Regional district for a year in 2012, as interim administrator.
When he returned to city hall in 2013, he was promoted to be second-in-command following a corporate structuring.
As part of the city’s senior management team, Macklem oversaw the operations of the airport, regional services, business development and the fire department. His strategic services department was also responsible for projects that help the city raise revenue from sources other than taxation. One of its biggest successes was the $55-million sale of the city’s electric utility to Fortis B.C.
On Friday, his last day on the job, Macklem’s colleagues both past and present held a lunch for him to say good bye.
“There have been a ton of highlights,” Macklem told the Kelowna Capital News before lunch. “But oveall it’s been a privilege to serve Kelowna residents all these years. I know that sounds corny, but it’s true.”
He said working for the city made him part of a team, a team he was quick to credit for the success over the years.
Macklem said when he came to Kelowna in 1988, the city was very different than it is today. It’s population was about half what it is now but was growing quickly.
The city grappled with its pace of growth during the mid-1990s when it was the fastest growing municipality in the country.
In the years since, Kelowna has seen a great deal of development, changes he feels have helped make the city more beautiful.
Macklem’s legacy will likely be the role he played in developing Kelowna’s finances over the years.
Starting when he was finance director, the city has been recognized for its annual budget and handling of its finances by the larger Government Finance Officers Association of Canada and the U.S. each year for the last 12 years.