Floyd McCormick, a clerk in the legislative assembly, poses for a photo in the Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Jan. 8. McCormick is set to retire this May after about 18 years. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Legislative assembly clerk Floyd McCormick to retire this spring

‘It’s the best job I’ve ever had, and it’s not something I ever anticipated I would be doing’

Floyd McCormick gravitated towards working as a clerk in the legislative assembly because he could be part of the action to a degree without getting his hands dirty.

“It’s the best job I’ve ever had, and it’s not something I ever anticipated I would be doing,” he told the News in an interview. “It’s something people tend to fall into in some indirect fashion.”

McCormick, who is set to retire after the spring sitting, which wraps up in the early May, is retiring after about 18 years. He started out, in 2001, as a deputy clerk on a term position, then was promoted to a full-timer in 2004. Three years later, McCormick was appointed as one of two clerks, succeeding Patrick Michael.

McCormick is interested in politics but not the flashy, partisan type — he keeps his politics close to his chest, and he prefers it that way.

He calls being a clerk “the narrow slice of politics” in its neutrality.

“You can be right on the ground floor, literally, in terms of sitting there in the House while the various debates are going on. It’s very interesting to be in that position, although, in some sense, you’re a bit of a bystander because you don’t really control what’s going on,” said McCormick, who has a PhD in political science. “Your job is to facilitate the actions of others.”

The trick is to keep a low profile, he said, because maintaining one means everything is working as it should.

“If you know who the clerk is, that probably means there’s something going on that shouldn’t be going on,” McCormick said, noting that it’s a team effort when it comes to ensuring things run smoothly and protocols are followed.

The tasks clerks are responsible for are, daily: preparing the House’s order paper, tracking records in the Hansard and journals. The legislature’s website, for instance, McCormick said, would have been completely unrecognizable a dozen years ago.

“A lot of it is just continuous work that has to be done in order to make sure that the place functions effectively, and I think we’ve done that,” he said.

“No matter what you do, there’s going to be unfinished business once you leave. You try to tie up as many loose ends as you can, but it’s just the nature of the job.”

McCormick seems to appreciate consistency — he’s a bit of a fixture himself at the legislature, watching MLAs come and go, and much quicker compared to other places in the country.

The longest serving MLA, he said, is the Yukon Party’s Brad Cathers, who’s been serving since 2002.

“There haven’t been many changes at the top in that formal sense, but there’s been quite a bit of turnover, in terms of MLAs themselves,” McCormick said. “In most legislative assemblies, there are members who have been there for 20 to 30 years. That isn’t the case around here.”

With a dash of humour, McCormick tells people he’s going to write a book in his retirement about all the things he should have known at the beginning of his career at the legislature — hindsight is 20/20, perhaps.

“Gaining a perspective on things and an understanding about how you can handle a situation better if you’d known more when you were making that decision, but that’s life I guess,” he said. “We’ll see if that project actually gets off the ground and in what form.”

Contact Julien Gignac at julien.gignac@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

From Whitehorse to the Whitecaps

Joe Hanson is starting his second season with the Vancouver Whitecaps academy

Mount Lorne Mis-Adventure Trail Race doesn’t miss a step

Blue skies and sunshine for a chilly fall race

Canada Summer Games postponed

Yukon Canada Summer Games athletes will now work on mastering skills in preperation for 2022

Site selection for battery project draws ire of nearby landowners

Yukon Energy is accepting public comments on three possible sites for the project

Taking a closer look at the cosmos

Star gazing party scheduled for Sept. 18

Yukon government releases new guidelines for COVID-19 symptoms and sending children to school

The advice sorts symptoms into three categories: red, yellow and green

Nominations closed in Watson Lake byelection

Four candidates are running for mayor

Baggage screening changes begin

Passengers are asked to arrive earlier than normal in order to accommodate the new temporary system

Yukon Government extends education review

The final report is scheduled for release in March 2021

City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Lawsuit against Freedom Trails settled

The suit was dismissed with consent of all parties

Tank farm takes another step towards development

OCP designation passes second reading

Climate change strategy targets 30 per cent reduction in territory greenhouse gases by 2030

The strategy includes rebates for electric vehicles but puts off mining targets for two years

Most Read