Long time City of Forest Code and Zone Officer, David Chamblee was honored with a retirement reception last Thursday after more than 22 years with the city.
“For 22 years, this is what you get,” Mayor Nancy Chambers joked as she presented Chamblee with a plaque acknowledging his service.
“If we were allowed legally, in municipal government, to do what we wanted to do when valuable employees retire, we would line his pockets from now on,” Chambers said, speaking to a packed board room where approximately 50 friends, relatives and co-workers gathered for lunch, “because he has been that valuable. He has been that good of an employee. It has been wonderful. I appreciate you.”
“When the board of aldermen agreed to hire David and create the code and zone department, four of the five aldermen voted in favor and one voted against,” Alderman Matt Alford said. “That one was me. I wish I had that vote back...I regret that. I wish I would have voted differently. When I look around Forest I see what a better looking place this is because of David and his people.”
Alford said the Forest Fire Chief recently gave a report to the board saying they respond to a fewer fires today than they had in the past. “Our fire chief said plan and clearly the reason why we respond to fewer fires is because of the code and zone department,” Alford said, “sure the place looks better but people’s living conditions are better in Forest. You never know how to measure the number of people that are here today because of a safe code and zone department. There are people here walking among us that may not be alive because of the safety measures the code and zone department. There was a time when the code and zone department was standing right there,” Alford said pointing to Chamblee. “you saved people’s lives. You have made a difference. We all wish we could have that said about us, but you have made a difference. I’m going to miss you.”