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Destin City Council appoints Louis Zunguze as new City Manager

Zunguze has been serving as the interim city manager for the past few months and previously held the position of Community Development Director for the city.

The Destin City Council unanimously voted to appoint Louis Zunguze as the new city manager during Monday night’s meeting.

  • Zunguze has been serving as the interim city manager for the past few months and previously held the position of Community Development Director for the city.

The decision comes after the city parted ways with former city manager Lance Johnson on January 2, 2024. Johnson had served in the role since 2018 after initially being hired by Destin in January 2003.

The city council had passed a resolution in January to set up a process for hiring a new city manager. A selection committee, appointed by each city council member, reviewed over 50 resumes and conducted interviews with shortlisted candidates.

  • The committee forwarded three candidates to the city council for further consideration: Mike Castro, Kevin Calper, and Louis Zunguze.

Councilman Jim Bagby praised the committee’s work and the qualifications of the candidates. He moved to authorize the city attorney and HR director to negotiate with Zunguze, stating, “I normally favor the internal candidate just because I believe we ought to grow our own.”

Councilwoman Teresa Hebert seconded the motion, expressing her agreement with Bagby and other council members. She commended Zunguze’s performance in handling tricky situations while serving as interim city manager.

Councilman Dewey Destin, who has served on the council for 7 different terms, noted that Zunguze and the other two candidates were the most qualified he had seen during his tenure. He supported the motion, acknowledging Zunguze’s advantage of having been “in the trenches” with the city.

Upon his appointment, Zunguze expressed his heartfelt thanks to the selection committee and the city council for trusting him with the responsibility.

  • I just want to send my heartfelt thanks to the committee that went through the process and also the city council for trusting me with this responsibility,” he said. “To the members of the public, I commit to listen to you. To give you all the opportunity to share your concerns, your aspirations, so that we can help you acquire the quality of living that you aspire to. Thank you so much for the responsibility.”

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