Tahlequah Assistant City Administrator Kevin Smith has submitted a letter indicating he will be retiring from service after 36 years, effective July 1.
Smith's letter is dated June 16 and formally addressed to Human Resources Director Jessica Petty, but also includes Mayor Jason Nichols and all four councilors. The letter is only one sentence long: "After 36 years of service to the city of Tahlequah, I am hereby submitting my letter of retirement, effective Friday, July 1, 2016."
Smith was the recipient of the 2015 Don Rider Award, which was presented during the Oklahoma Municipal League Annual Awards Banquet. He became the 27th recipient of the honor, which recognizes the late Don Rider, former OML executive director. The award pays tribute to long-term commitments made by a local official to his or her community.
Smith started his city career working for the parks department as a laborer. He was later promoted to a supervisory role, then became head of the parks department. Parents and coaches named a sports complex in Smith's honor due to his efforts to make youth sports safer and convenient to all participants. Later, Smith joined the Tahlequah Fire Department as a volunteer and was active in the Oklahoma State Firefighters Association. He served as a firefighter for 23 years.
In July 1999, Smith was named assistant city administrator in Tahlequah.
Over the past four years, retirements and resignations of the city's finance director, human resources director, encumbering officer, cashier, records clerk, city attorney and street commissioner have accounted for the loss of more than 230 years' worth of experience.
Smith's retirement will be presented to the City Council on Monday.