Calgary,
01
March
2019
|
16:00
America/Denver

Meet City employee 001 – Calgary’s first public servant

On National Employee Appreciation Day, we at The City of Calgary pondered who was the first City of Calgary public servant.

We knew the first mayor was George Murdoch, elected in 1884 and the first female alderman was Annie Gale in 1917, but who was Employee 001?

After a few head scratches and emails, we found Bryan Bance, archivist with The City of Calgary.

Bance knew exactly who it was and when the first employee was hired. The year was 1884. Calgary was just becoming a town and the population was a mere 506 people.

Thomas T.A. Boys was the first town clerk and retained that role from 1884 to 1887.

“Calgary’s first town clerk, Thomas T.A. Boys, can be called The City’s first public servant, for his was the first appointment made by a resolution passed by the first elected council of the newly incorporated Town of Calgary at its initial meeting held on December 4, 1884,” said Bance. “His appointment preceded that of a tax collector.”

Boys’ appointment was later confirmed by Bylaw 30, passed on May 13, 1886, presumably to comply with the municipal ordinances of the day.

Salary for the position was established at $550 per annum.

Boys’ role as town clerk was a central administrative officer in the municipal government. Much of his duties were prescribed by territorial legislation. He was required to record the minutes of council, keep all books, records, accounts, and bylaws of city council. He was also charged with completing and maintaining a collections and assessment roll of property owners subject to municipal taxation, compile a list of names from the assessment roll of persons eligible to vote according to proprietary status and furnish the territorial government with census material and the names of elected officials. In 1894, the role of town clerk changed to city clerk.

Boys, who previous to becoming Calgary’s first town clerk was a sub-constable in the North West Mounted Police, died on Aug. 6, 1900 at the age of 69 and is buried in the Boundary Bay Cemetery in Tsawassen, B.C.

The City Clerk’s Office remains central to the operation of The City Calgary to this day. It provides leadership in delivering open, accessible, and impartial government to Calgarians, Council and The Corporation.

To honour the contribution of Thomas T.A. Boys to The City of Calgary, a boardroom in the Administration building is named after him.

Historic tidbits:

  • It is not clear whether Boys as the town clerk or the Town served as returning officer for elections throughout the period 1884-1905. In the 1886 minutes of the Council of the Northwest Territories of 1886, it was James A. M. McMillan, and not the town clerk of the time, Thomas A. Boys, who was named returning officer for the upcoming town elections.
  • After 1891, the town clerk seems to have been routinely appointed to the position.
  • From 1884 to 1894, the mayor and town councilors were elected by general vote for one-year terms.
  • From 1884-1887, there were four councilors in office, but this number was increased to six in 1888. In 1894, a ward system was introduced whereby nine city aldermen were elected from three wards for one-year terms.

List of City Clerks

Name

Date

Thomas T. A. Boys

1884 to 1887

C. Sparrow

1887

E.P. Davis

1887 to 1891

W.J.O. Bourchier

1891 to 1892

J.D. Geddes

1892 to 1895

C. McMillan

1895 to 1904

T.S. Burns

1904

H.E. Gillis

1904

C. McMillian

1904 to 1908

C.H. Minchin

1908 to 1910

W. D. Spence

1910 to 1912

J.M. Miller

1912 to 1955

C.B. Cummer

1955 to 1963

H.S. Sales

1963 to 1977

F.L. Byrne

1977 to 1980

J.E. Woodward

1980 to 1991

Diana L. Garner

1992 to 2012

Susan P. Gray

2012 to 2017

Laura Kennedy

2017 - present