A lot can change in 20 years.
But for the Town of Smithers, having Leslie Ford as a member of the Town’s staff hasn’t.
Ford first came onto the Town’s staff in 1999 as a Financial Administrator.
She retires as the Town’s Director of Finance.
“I want to acknowledge that it’s the end of an era [in] the Town of Smithers,” said acting mayor Frank Wray at the Town’s Oct. 8 meeting.
Wray also thanked Ford, as many other councillors did, for staying with the Town in her role past her original retirement date to help the Town through a transitional period where it was without a chief administrative officer.
While he was not present at the meeting, Wray read a letter that Taylor Bachrach prepared for the occasion.
In it, he expressed gratitude for working with Ford over his past eight years as mayor.
“It has always been such a comfort knowing that someone of your capabilities is overseeing the Town’s books and advising our policy decisions.”
Bachrach also pointed to Ford’s ability to work with a number of different councils through her years with the Town.
“The thing I’ve appreciated most about working with you is the respect you’ve shown us as council. Each councillor and mayor comes to their role with a different set of values and you’ve always listened to us and given thoughtful answers to our questions.
“Lets hoping your retirement sees all those spreadsheets replaced with exotic travel, scooter rides and Star Trek conventions.”
Deputy Mayor Gladys Atrill, also not in attendance, echoed these sentiments in another letter.
“Know that you leave this organization richer for your time with us and I’ll miss you.”
An emotional Ford addressed council at the end of the meeting.
“I just would to thank everyone for the very kind words. It wasn’t a decision made lightly as you know.
Discussing her over three decades working in various roles with different local governments, Ford said she will miss working with the Town.
“It’s been an honour and a privilege to work with councils and to work for the residents of Smithers … I’m getting really choked up here.”