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