Fire Chief Bill Cody, who has been at the helm of the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department for the last 4-1/2 years, retired Friday with a brigade of firefighters in full-dress uniforms saluting him as he left the department's headquarters in Pleasanton for the last time.
Mayors Jennifer Hosterman of Pleasanton and Marshall Kamena of Livermore led the festivities, with representatives from Alameda County and the state legislature presenting Cody with resolutions, certificates and letters of commendation.
Cody's retirement capped a 32-year career in fire services that began in Southern California with the Los Angeles City Fire Department, where he started as a firefighter and moved up the ranks during his 25-year tenure with that agency. He then joined the Newark Fire Department, where he served as assistant fire chief before joining the LPFD in 2005 as chief.
Livermore and Pleasanton officials praised Cody for his operational expertise and for spearheading the development of the XAL Regional Academy. Working together with the leadership of fire agencies that serve the unincorporated areas of Alameda County and Fremont, the academy was established to train new recruits. Today it serves as a model of regional collaboration and capitalizes on assembling the instructors and resources from all three agencies.
In addition, Cody has served on the board of directors for the East Bay Regional Communications System Authority (EBRCSA), which is charged with developing a state-of-the-art communications system to serve the public safety agencies of the East Bay for many years to come.
Because the fire department is operated under a joint agreement by Pleasanton and Livermore, the city managers of both cities--Nelson Fialho and Linda Barton—are the assigned city executives to develop a replacement plan and hire a search firm for Cody's successor. Fialho said the process could take until March or April before candidates are selected for interviews and a final decision is made.
Cody said that the opportunity to serve as fire chief in an organization that reports to two cities presented unique challenges and also the chance to be involved in city and civic activities in both communities.
"When I was part of the 3,500-member Los Angeles Fire Department, even though I was among the top 100 in the organization, I always felt very much anonymous," Cody told the 75 well-wishers gathered at his retirement ceremony, outside the fire department's headquarters on Nevada Street. "When I came here, I found that I could be very much involved in day-to-day activities in communities and an organization with really great people."
Looking out on the rows of firefighters at the ceremony, Cody said he had either hired or promoted half of those now serving the fire department.
"That shows how much change has taken place in the 4-1/2 years," Cody said. "This is a fire department with excellent people, one that is moving in a great direction and one that I'm confident will continue to grow and develop."
With his wife Sherrill at his side, Cody then walked past the long line of fellow firefighters to head back to his home in Livermore, and retirement.