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Zimomra to celebrate 10 years as City Manager

By Staff | Sep 14, 2011

Judie Zimomra, Sanibel's City Manager, has spent the last decade in service to the island community. The Newton Falls, Ohio native will celebrate her 10th anniversary with the City of Sanibel on Sept. 17.

Ten years ago this month, the Sanibel City Council conducted a special interview session with the five City Manager applicants vying for the then-vacant position. One of the questions asked of the job candidates was whether they could be happy making a long-term commitment to Sanibel.

“I’ve worked in two cities, and in both cities spent 10 years apiece,” Judie Zimomra responded at the time. “If you’re happy with my performance, I would anticipate being here at least that long.”

Zimomra, who will officially celebrate her 10th anniversary as City Manager this Saturday, smiled when she was reminded of her almost prophetic quote.

“It has been my pleasure to work with our residents and help make a difference in this community,” said Zimomra, driving between appointments last Friday afternoon. “Working here has just been a joy.”

Earlier that same morning, Zimomra began her day in Fort Myers, speaking on behalf of the City of Sanibel at the Tourist Development Council meeting. After returning to the island, her agenda included two site visits – at a property on Lake Murex Circle and at the intersection of Nerita and Junonia streets – in response to inquiries made by residents. Later in the day, she conducted no less than four meetings at City Hall with various members of the city staff, fielding a myriad of phone calls and text messages along the way.

At the intersection of Nerita and Junonia streets, Public Works Director Gates Castle confers with Judie Zimomra.

All in a day’s work for Zimomra.

“The bottom line is that this is not a Monday through Friday 8 to 5 job… and it isn’t supposed to be,” she said. “I’m always out there in the community. People can feel free to contact me because my phone number’s in the book. When you’re a City Manager, you’re always the City Manager.”

Always busy, always attentive and always dependable. Zimomra, it seems, wouldn’t want it any other way.

“I do like to do little run-out trips, three-day weekends whenever I can,” she explained. “But now I have two or three wi-fi connections with the city, so there’s no such thing as ‘down time.’ This city runs 24/7.”

As an Adjunct Professor at Edison State College teaching in the School of Law & Public Safety, Zimomra is able to pass along the wisdom gained from her more than 30 years of experience in city and county government. She earned a degree in Communications at Kent State University, a Law degree at Capital University and a Masters of Public Administration and Fiscal Administration at Ohio State University.

A meeting with some of Sanibel's top personnel — Bill Tomlinson, Judie Zimomra, Jimmy Jordan and Gates Castle — in response to a citizen inquiry last week.

And after 10 years on the island, Zimomra remains committed to her mission.

“My job is to facilitate the wishes and desires of our City Council,” she said. “I think we’ve all been successful in downsizing and ‘right-sizing’ staff through attrition, rolling out additional facilities, taking small ideas and projects which can be implemented to improve the quality of life for our residents.”

Despite her lack of “down time,” Zimomra does find a few occasions to pursue her own interests, which include photography, biking and birding.

“For all of those,” she added, “there’s no place better than Sanibel.”