Marathon’s Cody Ward knows more about the law, gaming than you do

Cody Ward was hired by the City of Marathon soon after graduation from University of Florida’s law school. That was more than five years ago. But the very talented young man, 32, has become a changeling at city hall. He’s a paralegal, and he is a code compliance officer, and he lends a hand for any IT challenges the city faces.

Here’s a little more about Cody Ward:

Where did you grow up? From a pretty young age, I lived in Orlando. And then I studied at University of Florida where I got my law degree and my bachelor’s degree, so that makes me a double Gator.

What do you do for the city? Well, I draft and review ordinances and help outside counsel with research for pending litigation. I’m also the public information officer and help the Executive Policy Group (the emergency decision makers responding to the pandemic) with community outreach.

The City of Marathon just hired an in-house attorney, Steve Williams, your new boss. Have you met him? Yes, he strikes me as a straight shooter and that’s a rare quality for an attorney. 

Why did you get into law? In the beginning, I was very interested in patent and copyright law … in other words, intellectual property. I was primarily focused on software releases. It’s wildly complicated and the whole industry moves so fast.

And now? I’m very interested in real estate law. Living in the Keys, I see the legal intersection between property rights and code violations, foreclosures and other issues.

Have you/will you ever sit for the bar? I did once in Philadelphia, just winging it, soon after I graduated from law school. While I passed the general portion, I failed the Pennsylvania state law. I am studying for the bar right now. I will probably take it next July.

Do you have any hidden talents? I’m going to be honest here. I’m a video gamer. At one time I was a professional player in my teens. And by professional, I mean by the barest definition. People would pay me to wear their shirts and things like that.

Describe the pinnacle of your video gaming success, please. I was at a HALO convention in Orlando and we were playing at a science center. During every round they would pick a player and play their POV on the planetarium ceiling. It was a weird sensation to have a room full of 300 people following my moves. A good feeling.

What’s the weirdest job you ever had? I sold knives for a while at special kiosks in places like Costco. In retrospect, I think it was a scam. I never got paid.

Do you have a nickname? Oh, boy. It’s Sputnik. When I was born my head was so big, they compared it to the Russian satellite.

If you could magically pass any law in Marathon, what would you do? I would put some teeth in our code enforcement law.

What is your guilty pleasure? Fried ice cream. I can’t find it down here.

Can you keep a secret? It’s my job to keep secrets.

What movie dialogue do you know by heart? “The Boondock Saints.” It’s an Irish movie about vigilantes.

What three things would you take to a deserted island? Let’s see, a big book … I think, “The Long Walk,” by Stephen King; a giant knife and a desalinator. I’m a very practical person. 

What’s your dream car? A Corvette Stingray. One of the new ones. (Not that practical!)

Do you have any surprises on your music playlist? Korean jazz hiphop. 

When are you going to shave the COVID-19 beard? When they take down the city’s Emergency Operations Center.

Is it true what they say about gingers? Yes, we have no souls. Also, we burst into flames when placed in direct sunlight.

Isn’t it monstrously unfair to make fun of gingers? Yes.

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Sara Matthis thinks community journalism is important, but not serious; likes weird and wonderful children (she has two); and occasionally tortures herself with sprint-distance triathlons, but only if she has a good chance of beating her sister.