CANTON — A longtime St. Lawrence County department head who has served in several different roles is retiring at the end of this month.
Keith J. Zimmerman, 59, is scheduled to retire Aug. 31 after being employed by the county for more than 32 years. He started working for the county in 1987 and has served as director of the county’s Planning Office since May 2001.
During his career, he has also served as interim director of the Emergency Services Department and interim director of the Information Technology Department.
At Monday night’s County Legislature meeting, some legislators spoke about Mr. Zimmerman.
“He’s been a real asset to the county and he’s been involved in so many different things, not just on a county level, but in assisting the towns and villages and providing his expertise to a lot of groups,” said legislator James E. Reagen, R-Ogdensburg. “I think he’ll be a huge loss to the county and I just want to thank him for all he’s done for us.”
Legislator Anthony Arquiett, D-Helena, added, “His level of expertise in so many areas is invaluable. Not only that, he makes it fun.”
Mr. Zimmerman said he had two main reasons for retiring at this stage in his career.
“In part it was to help secure the long-term financial interest of my family and, in part, it was in recognition that the role of the Planning Office is going to evolve and I likely would not be a long-term asset in that evolution and the timing allows that to occur in a more meaningful way,” he said.
Mr. Zimmerman said after his retirement he hopes to assist the county as it transitions some of his responsibilities to others.
He plans to continue residing in Canton with his family, including his wife, Christina, who is employed at St. Lawrence University.
“I want to keep my mind engaged in meaningful and purposeful work and I will be trying to decide what to do next over the coming few weeks,” Mr. Zimmerman said.
He started with the county as an entry level planner in 1987 and then worked his way up to deputy director and then director of the Planning Office.
Mr. Zimmerman was involved with planning, designing and developing the county’s Human Services Building and the county Correctional Facility.
Asked to reflect on his career, he said, “It’s been a marvelous ride.”
“I have literally met thousands of people in service to the county, been entrusted to lead a broad array of community development initiatives worth tens of millions of dollars over the years, have represented the county’s interests to both the state and federal governments and have felt professionally and personally supported every step of the way,” Mr. Zimmerman said. “I could not have asked for a better career.”
He said County Administrator Ruth Doyle’s support has been unwavering and he is encouraged by her intention to keep the Planning Office a vibrant partner in the county’s future.