In honor of longtime Chehalis City Clerk Caryn Foley’s retirement, an open house was held at city hall on Tuesday so those who have known Foley over her 34-year career with the city could wish her a happy retirement.
“It’s surreal. I can’t believe 34 years have gone by. I am grateful to have had a career that I loved,” Foley said.
In an effort to limit the number of people in the building at one time as a COVID-19 precaution, the open house lasted from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and people could stop by throughout the day to wish Foley well.
Foley was originally hired in August 1986 to fill a temporary six-month position. About halfway through those six months, the full-time city clerk position opened and she was hired, becoming Chehalis’ city clerk on Nov. 24, 1986.
“I feel so blessed to have worked with and become friends with so many wonderful people,” Foley said.
Current administrative assistant to the city manager Kiley Franz, who has been with the city for about three years now, will step in as interim city clerk, and the hiring process will begin in April, Chehalis City Manager Jill Anderson said.
Considering Foley’s knowledge and history with the city of Chehalis gathered over 34 years, she is almost irreplaceable, Anderson said.
“I knew I could always rely on her. I knew that she was always looking out for the best interests of the city and that she was making sure that we were following all the rules and regulations — I never had to worry, and that is just priceless to a city manager,” Anderson said.
The city has seen multiple retirements of long-time city employees in recent months, including former human resource and risk manager Judy Schave, who retired in January after 35 years with the city. Chehalis Fire Department Administrative Assistant Barabra Lovelady, the longest-running city employee, retired late last year after 40 years with the city.
Some of the projects Foley said she is most proud to have been a part of include setting up the records program that is still used by the city today and her involvement with the Chehalis Community Renaissance Team.
Foley, who grew up in Pe Ell, has always called Lewis County home.
“I have worked with some great council members over the years and I just have to say, they have all had the city’s best interests in mind. We’ve been very lucky and I have worked for some excellent mayors,” she said.
Foley will be formally honored on Monday, March 22, at the Chehalis City Council meeting.