O'Fee to step down from council
The council seat to the left of the mayor, held by John O'Fee for years, will soon be empty.
The longtime councillor announced on Monday (Jan. 31) he's stepping down from municipal government and his law practice to take a job as chief executive officer of the Tk'emlups Indian Band (TIB).
His last day on the job is Feb. 28.
O'Fee told KTW it is an opportunity he couldn't pass up after spending 22 years in law.
"It's an exciting opportunity to work with a large, multifaceted organization that's got a really great vision for themselves," he said, adding the organization has 185 employees, making it bigger than the Thompson- Nicola Regional District (TNRD).
As CEO of the TIB, O'Fee will be responsible for directing the band from an administrative perspective.
He noted his legal and financial background will be an asset when it comes to property issues that arise with the band.
O'Fee said he applied for the job in December, but didn't make his final decision until a few weeks ago.
TIB Chief Shane Gottfriedson said O'Fee brings a wealth of experience to the job from his years spent in the private legal world, on council and dealing with issues within the TNRD.
"I think he's going to be an asset not just to the band, but our whole region," he said.
The position has been vacant for about a year.
Gottfriedson said he expects the new CEO to play a part in the band's strategic plan and help develop community initiatives.
He said O'Fee was chosen by an interview panel, but didn't disclose the CEO salary.
With his departure, O'Fee leaves behind nearly 21 years of service as a city councillor and school board trustee — a position he held for three terms.
O'Fee said the city has worked on some important and interesting projects over the years, including the construction of water treatment facility, the Tournament Capital plan and the airport expansion, project completed while O'Fee was president of the Kamloops Airport Society (KAAS).
He said Kamloops has been successful in creating an image or "brand" for itself, "as opposed to someone trying to brand us.
The airport expansion was close to the councillor's heart, as he suggested seeing the project through to completion was a big reason for him running for a fourth term in 2008.
Fred Legace, the airport's managing director, believes O'Fee's legacy will be his work with the airport.
He described the KAAS president a "visionary" and person who cares for the community, noting he lead the airport through a significant expansion.
"I think people can proudly look to the airport as something that really reflects the community and the region," Legace said.
There is no word yet on what the city intends to with the vacant council seat.