Naples interim city manager named new Sanibel manager in split vote

Bill Smith
Fort Myers News-Press
Visitors to the Sanibel Causeway watch the sunset near the stumps of recently removed non-native Australian pine trees on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. The island city appointed a new manager Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021.

Dana Souza, interim city manager in Naples, was selected as city manager in Sanibel on Thursday on a  3-2 vote over Keith Williams, the city's director of community services.

He succeeds Judith Zimomra, who retired this week after serving Sanibel since 2000.

Souza was the first ballot selection after more than two hours of discussion involving the Sanibel City Council and members of the public. 

Dana Souza, currently interim city manager in Naples,  was selected as the new city manager for the city of Sanibel on a 3-2 vote Thursday.

He became interim city manager in Naples in May, following the resignation of Charles Chapman. He has also been deputy city manager and community services director since joining Naples city government in 2016.

The new Sanibel manager's resume also includes six years in Marco Island, from 2002 to 2008, when he served as interim city manager of the city after serving as parks and recreation director. 

Souza raise:Naples interim City Manager Dana Souza may get a temporary pay raise of $42K

Zimomra retires: Zimomra to retire as Sanibel city manager in September 2021

Before moving to Marco, Sousa was director of parks, recreation and sustainability in Greenville, South Carolina.

After more than an hour of discussion among council members and then considerable discussion during a  public comment period, Sousa won the votes of Mayor Holly Smith and council members Scott Crater and John Henshaw. 

Council members Mike Miller and Vice Mayor Richard Johnson voted for Keith Williams, the city's community services director who ran into some issues in recent days when an e-mail campaign pointed out that he used the designation professional engineer after his name. 

Following the 3-2 vote to select Sousa, Johnson and Miller switched their votes to Sousa in a show of unity behind the manager-select.

A third finalist Jeff Durbin, who has been interim manager of a tiny Colorado town about 75 miles west of Denver, did not receive any votes. 

By the way:Some fear loss of Old Florida feel at Sanibel Causeway beaches

James Evans, the director of environmental policy at the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation speaks with Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Ryan Orgera, the CEO of the Sanibel Capitiva Conservation during brief tour of the Caloosahatchee estuary. Fried was in Southwest Florida to announce changes and updates to the departments agricultural water policies.

Sousa's career in public management began in the Northeast, with stops in New Bedford Mass. and Portland, Maine. He was also parks and recreation director in  Union, New York, during the mid 1990s. Many of his early career stops involved parks and recreation and other public facilities positions. 

He is a graduate of Roger Williams University in Rhode Island and has a certificate in public administration from the University of Central Florida.

Negotiations for a contract with Sousa will now take place. As interim manager in Naples, Sousa is paid at the rate of $206,000 per year.  He was given a $42,000 pay raise after being named interim manager.