After a quick vacation, longtime employee Sally Cody will switch from full-time to part-time employment for the village of Forest Park, easing her way into retirement after nearly 37 years.
“I’ve been afforded tremendous intellectual, professional and personal growth and, as I leave, after 36½ years, it will be with a song in my heart,” Cody wrote in an April 29 Facebook post, which garnered more than 120 likes. “I want to publicly say thank you to Mayor Calderone, Tim Gillian, all the commissioners, and all my co-workers, past and present. You will always remain in my heart, but I cannot wait to find out what adventures await me post-retirement.”
Cody is a longtime Forest Parker who attended the now-shuttered St. Bernardine’s Elementary School, where after class she would buy candy at the Ferrara Candy store. She studied at Triton College and ultimately earned a degree in business management from Concordia University. Those who know her know her love for the Chicago Cubs, Blackhawks, and the TV series Downton Abbey. She concluded every work email with a line from the show: “The business of life is the acquisition of memories.” During her time with the village, it’s safe to say she made many.
Cody started working for the village in October 1981 as a communications operator for the police and fire departments; for 18 years she answered non-emergency 911 calls, according to her LinkedIn profile. She then switched to her current full-time role as executive secretary of the village of Forest Park in September 1999, where she coordinates appointments for Mayor Anthony Calderone, helps set up village fundraisers and much, much more.
During her time with the village, she championed such initiatives as the Cover Our Rust program to upgrade the look of the Circle Avenue Bridge in May 2017. Cody and others raised more than $5,000 for the painting project and coordinated nearly 115 artists — young and old — to beautify the bridge with rainbows, hearts, flowers, etc.
“It looks beautiful,” she told WGN-TV at the time. The Chicago-based TV crew traveled to the suburbs to record a more than two-minute-long feature on her project.
On Cody’s Facebook post announcing her retirement, Village Clerk Vanessa Moritz wished her luck, calling Cody talented and said she always treated everyone with respect.
“You will be missed by everyone at work but mostly by the citizens of Forest Park,” Moritz wrote. “Your shoes will be hard to fill.”
Commissioner Joe Byrnes joked that Cody would need to return to help him solve computer problems.
“I am going to miss your presence,” he wrote. “I probably worked with you longer than anyone else.”
For two weeks, Cody will vacation with family and friends in the Pacific Northwest. She will return May 14 to resume her part-time role with the village.
Village Administrator Tim Gillian said the village has not started the hiring process yet for her replacement.