After 34 years of public service, Delaware County Commissioner Doug Smith is ready to hang up his hard hat and ease into life as a full-time, retired grandpa.

On Monday, Sept. 11, during the regular commissioner's meeting, Smith submitted his letter of resignation, effective Dec. 15, 2017.

For Smith, who serves as the chairman of the commission, and commissioner for district one, the move means he will leave his seat one year early.

He leaves knowing his "right hand man" David Poindexter will continue to help lead the district until an election to fill the seat can take place.

Dixie Smith, Delaware County Election Board secretary, has submitted a formal request to Gov. Mary Fallin's office, to schedule a special election in early 2018.

Dixie Smith said she has talked with state election board officials about including the special election with the annual school board election in February. As of press time, no decision had been released by Fallin's office.

Ready for retirment

Smith began his career in public service in 1981, when he took a job with the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department. 

In 2008, he retired from that position, and relocated to the Grove/Grand Lake area with his wife, Gretchen.

In 2010, he stepped in to serve his first of two terms on the county commission.

"It's time to retire," Smith said. "I'll be 64 in December. I'm ready to travel and play with my grandkids. I've worked really hard to get to this point."

Smith said he plans to continue to serve, primarily in volunteer positions. He hopes to continue his work with Grand Gateway, as well as a few other organizations.

"It's not going to be full time and I'm not going to get paid for it," Smith said with a laugh. "Gretchen and I are ready to do things together."

Smith said his bucket list includes possible trips to the Galápagos Islands. He would also like to take a houseboat trip on the Amazon River.

He also plans to spend lots of time with his four grandsons: Cooper, 3, who lives in Norman, Jack, 6, who lives in Tulsa, and Onyx and Salem, 3 and 2, who live in Oklahoma City. A fifth grandchild is due in February. 

"Our district runs smooth as clockwork with David in control," Smith said, adding Poindexter plans to run for the office once the filing period begins.

Smith said if the governor calls the election to take place in early February, his seat on the commission could only be open for six weeks. 

"It's the holiday season," Smith said. "There aren't going to be too many big, difficult decisions to make.

"I'll only be a phone call away. I live here to. I want good government and what to do everything to ensure that continues."