By Associate Publisher Chuck Larsen
Following Sanibel City Manager Judie Zimomra announcing plans to retire on September 24, City Council met on May 11 in special session.
Mayor Holly Smith described the search process for a replacement as the “Most important decision we will make from this dias.”
Mayor Smith said council is working with the City Attorney to begin by updating the job description before proceeding.
Sanibel City Council voted to ask three or more search firms to pitch their services for finding a new City Manager at the June 1 Council Meeting.
Mayor Smith expects that after these presentations council will select one to hire for the search process. Council would then plan to issue a contract for the assignment at that meeting.
Former city councilman Chauncey Goss pointed out that “the job description is the only thing you can measure candidates against. Get to know the search firm and know you can trust them.”
There was audience discussion centered around making sure internal candidates are considered as well as those outside.
Vice Mayor Richard Johnson said, “we have a responsibility to find the best City Manager that we can, and we should look both inside and outside.”
Council members verified that they want to consider all qualified potentials both inside and outside.
Judie Zimomra has been City Manager of Sanibel since 2000.
She cites her major accomplishments as the Recreation Center and the Donax Water Treatment Plant.
She remembers her biggest challenges as Hurricanes Charlie and Irma, the 2018 Red Tide, and Covid-19.
Zimomra sent a letter to council last week:
Please be advised that at this time it is my plan to retire from my position as City Manager of Sanibel on Friday, September 24, 2021. The reason for providing a significantly longer lead time than contractually required is to provide City Council time to adequately implement a succession plan.
I fully understand it is City Council’s sole decision to select the next City Manager. I am available to discuss my personal recommendations that City Council may choose to take into consideration as Council proceeds through this transition.
City Manager of Sanibel
I was here on Sanibel when Judy came and was shocked to see for how long she has served this island in her own quiet competent way. I never met her personally but I have been impressed with both what I read and heard about her. The best of luck in the future to her and good luck to the council in finding her replacement.
From my vast experience with the search for talented individuals it is my sincere advice to find a search firm with the ability to assess ones talent for the job using a psychologist with experience in this area. I suggest you contact Gallop in Washington and speak with their talent search people to help you find the right person for the job. Judy was the perfect manager with her law experience and her management talents. As Dr. Don Clifton the founder of Selection Research has said, “All great leaders are not good managers, but all great managers are great leaders.” This is an important selection as it was equally the last time around. Whoever was involved with the finding of Judy should be involved this time also and I would suggest you have Judy spell out the talent needed since she is one of the best.
A role description is entirely different than a job description which is mandated by regulations. A role description is what you want someone to accomplish (in measurable detail) in an 18 -24 month period. This is your true expectation needs defined to the interviewee. No misunderstandings. Then you measure their performance in six month increments against this , holding the measurables constant. No misunderstandings, true performance of the individual is shown.
Had the privilege of working with Judy for many years. She is in my opinion one of the best City Managers( if not the best) in Florida. A dedicated professional in every sense of the word. Sanibel is and will continue to be one of the finest communities in Florida. In a large part because of Judie’s many years of public service to all of us.
Wishing you all the best and thank you