Zimmerman ‘excited’ to work with new board

Nick Stroman

David Zimmerman said he is glad the long 18-month process of planning and campaigning is over since he announced his candidacy for president of the Tazewell County Board.

The process paid off and came to an end last week when Republican candidate Zimmerman from Morton won the election over Democrat Larry Noreuil of Hopedale by 58 percent.

The 47-year-old Zimmerman has served on the county board for the last 11 years, recently chairing the county finance committee.

For those same 11 years, Jim Unsicker has served as board chairman, and now Zimmerman is replacing him.

Zimmerman said he is excited to work with the new county board members elected last week, and he will figure out new committee assignments over the next three weeks.

“I have to have those by Dec. 1st, and it’s all about feeling out where everyone’s strengths and passions lie and getting the right people on the right committees,” Zimmerman said.

In addition to his full-time job as a pharmaceutical salesman for Merck and Co., Zimmerman will take his chairman responsibilities seriously.

Besides improving communication between board members and other elected officials and upgrading the county Web site, Zimmerman wants to pursue the hiring of a human resources professional for the county.

“We have made mistakes, and this person could help us avoid making more,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman said he is referring to recent lawsuits involving Tazewell County, related to the process of hiring and firing.

“There are federal laws to follow, and we need someone who knows the ins and outs and can be an employee’s one source for anything, from labor issues to discipline,” he added.

Zimmerman said he also plans to hold a strategic planning session in early 2009 to find out what the board vision is and what each member plans to do over the next four years.

“I think we need a core foundation, but I also want to challenge all of them to get specific and come up with one or two personal priorities,” he said.

Zimmerman said many of this election’s board candidates talked about the redistricting issue during their campaigns, but he felt they were jumping the gun a bit.

The chairman-elect said the board must wait until the United States Census numbers come out in 2010, and they can then decode the county data regarding districts and the size of the board.

“They are about three years premature. There is nothing to do about it at this point, so I never touched on it in my campaign,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman said he never spent any campaign money each time he ran for his county board seat, but for his chairman run, he accumulated tens of thousands of dollars.

“It was more intense and aggressive, but I’ve learned some valuable lessons this time around. I’m politically fatigued, and I would probably do some things differently next time,” he added.

Regardless of money spent, Zimmerman said he is proud of how he and Noreuil ran their campaigns.

“Larry and I are friends, and we made it a point to keep it clean and above board. I can look back without regrets and say I haven’t damaged any relationships or my integrity,” Zimmerman said.

Other winners in the Tazewell County Board race include Dean Grimm, Janet Donahue and Greg Sinn in District 2.

In District 3, board members elected include John Ackerman, Michael Harris and Paul Hahn.