By Jensen, Randy on May 28, 2020.
With a bouquet, a round of applause and a nod of her head in acknowledgement, retiring city manager Jody Meli attended her last council meeting as a City employee on Monday.
Meli started working with the City of Lethbridge when she was just 19 years old, and held various positions over 39 years of service eventually rising to the level of senior management. Meli was tapped as interim city manager with the unexpected departure of Bramwell Strain in October of last year.
“I feel pretty good,” Meli said when asked by The Herald how she felt about calling it a career. “It’s kind of surreal. Obviously, it has been a long career, and it is good to leave at the top of this organization. It has been great, and it has been a super career.”
While nearly four decades as a City employee has had its moments of excitement, its ups and downs, and its challenges, Meli will perhaps always be defined by the last six months of that long career, and her extraordinary efforts in the face of the historic COVID-19 pandemic of 2020.
Meli said when she agreed to take on the interim city manager job she thought she was likely in for a relatively uneventful term in office until a new full-time manager was hired. How wrong she was.
“It was a challenge, and I was up for it,” she said. “You just have to be nimble, and that’s one of the key things I have always tried to be is very nimble. And hopefully serve our community in the best way that I could. I have had great people working around me; so I couldn’t have done it without the people that work here at the City of Lethbridge.”
Meli plans to help with new city manager Craig Dalton’s transition “from afar” if needed. With some vacation time left to use up before her retirement, Meli’s last official day will be Friday.
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