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New Gervais city manager has a familiar face

by: MAYGAN BECKERS - Susie Zwemke is Gervais' new city manager, her first day being Jan. 2.Susie Zwemke believes her positive attitude is a key component to her accomplishments as she settles into her new position as the Gervais city manager.

Zwemke, former deputy city recorder of Gervais, said she looks forward to getting out and meeting people in her field and appreciates those who have welcomed her in the new position thus far.

Zwemke earned a Bachelor of Science in accounting at Eastern Oregon University.

Zwemke, born and raised in Madras, was recommended for the job two months ago by retiring city manager Sam Sasaki at a Gervais city council meeting. All councilors approved the suggestion.

Prior to the recommendation, Sasaki announced his retirement at the same meeting giving Zwemke additional time to prepare for her new title.

She mentioned she is well on her way to promoting economic improvement for Gervais, as the last phase of the Water Treatment Plant Improvement Project is nearing and the design phase of the railroad crossing and extended sidewalk on Third Street is under way.

“There’s a lot to learn in every project because there’s contingencies that come up and you have to do some trouble-shooting, which can be kind of fun,” she said.

Zwemke has been involved in Gervais’ annual budgeting process and completing daily financial aspects of the city, including city council meetings. She has also worked closely with Sasaki on capital projects and attending classes, trainings and meetings.

“I think she’s well qualified and will do well in that position,” said Sasaki. “She has the ability to handle difficult situations, so I think that with her negotiation skills, that will really help her through the process.”

Sasaki said Zwemke received well-rounded training from the Local Government Management Certificate Program (LGMCP), offered through the League of Oregon Cities, covering areas such as finance and budgeting, human resources and risk management. She finished the program last April.

“With this experience, I have a solid understanding of how the city operates, and I have met a network of professionals who I know I can rely on for support as I transition,” said Zwemke. “Sam planted the seed for me to take off and grow in this position, and I am confident in my abilities to fulfill the role of city manager.”

Since named city manager, Zwemke has been managing city management roles as well as duties of her previous position, as she will be appointing a new city recorder later this week.

“Any transition is going to provide its challenges, but the city of Gervais has a wonderful staff of people who are very supportive of one another in their respective positions. That is one of the many things I appreciate most about working for the city,” said Zwemke. “There is a definite team approach within the city, and the mayor and council have been very supportive of the staff as we serve the needs of the community.”




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