Saturday, May 4, 2013

Greener Pastures

Jim Zumwalt, my friend and the city manager of Manassas Park, announced his retirement earlier this month. It is well deserved. Jim has been a public servant for over 40 years. 

When I think about a true public servant, I picture Jim.  He continually amazed me with his breadth and depth of knowledge and constructive ways to solve challenges. Jim definitely possesses the winning combination of intellectual curiosity, extensive experience, and wisdom. 

Give Jim a white board with different color markers and you were off to a very fast start. He loved to sketch out the problem on the white board.  Jim is not talkative, but when he speaks people at the table listen. He kept conversations focused and he dissected each challenge from a number of directions.  It was common for Jim to listen to an issue. And then watch him lead a discussion that ranged from translating it into policy and finally exploring the mechanics of implementation.  He made it look so easy and as I have seen and learned, it is very taxing and difficult.

City management loses a true professional.  He was as I wrote earlier, a public servant. And now, Jim can pursue more noble and personal interests.

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