Sept. 22, 2021
CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, VA — After nearly 33 years of service to Chesterfield County, the last five as deputy county administrator for community operations, Scott Zaremba is retiring effective Dec. 1.
“It’s the hardest decision I’ve ever made,” Zaremba said. “What I’ll miss most are the people, the friendships and the family atmosphere the county has created. But I know this is the right time to step aside.”
Chesterfield will conduct a national recruitment to fill the deputy administrator vacancy. The job announcement was posted Monday, Sept. 20, and the application deadline is Oct. 18.
“Scott has faithfully served the citizens of Chesterfield in a number of roles,” said County Administrator Dr. Joseph P. Casey, who promoted Zaremba to manage the community operations division in 2016. “He was my first new hire when I got here and I knew I needed someone like Scott to help build the great team we have. His wisdom and institutional knowledge will be difficult to replace, but we wish him nothing but the best as he enters the next phase of his journey.”
In his current position, Zaremba oversees five county departments: General Services, Information Systems Technology, Libraries, Parks and Recreation and Risk Management. He also acts as staff liaison to the constitutional offices of sheriff, commonwealth’s attorney and Circuit Court clerk, and to the public safety departments of police, fire and emergency communications.
Bringing together employees with such a diverse set of skills and responsibilities, and helping them function effectively as a team, has been a “challenging, yet rewarding,” part of the job, Zaremba said.
“One minute I might be getting a presentation about the monarch butterfly, and the next we’re talking about the county airport,” he added with a chuckle. “I’ve had to learn about a lot of different topics. Fortunately, I’ve had an incredible group of directors.”
Zaremba graduated from the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University in 1982 and earned a law degree from the University of Maryland three years later. After briefly practicing labor and employment law for a Richmond-based firm, then working in the city of Richmond’s personnel office, he was hired in Chesterfield as a senior analyst for the Department of Human Resource Management in November 1988.
He was promoted to assistant director in July 1997 and served in that post until December 2009, when then-County Administrator James J.L. Stegmaier took the somewhat unusual step of appointing Zaremba and his fellow assistant director, Mary Martin Selby, to jointly lead Chesterfield’s HR department.
“We didn't think twice,” Martin Selby recalled. “We had always worked as HR partners, responsible for various aspects of the department, so we knew we could continue that partnership as co-directors.”
Zaremba joined the county at a demanding time for a human resources professional; Chesterfield’s population was growing rapidly, and the county had to recruit, screen and hire upwards of 100 firefighters, police officers and other public employees annually to provide services to those new residents.
He helped automate and modernize many of Chesterfield’s HR functions -- launching Paid Time Off and health savings accounts for employees, saving millions of dollars by transitioning the county to self-insured status and leading a countywide team that redesigned the retiree healthcare program.
Under his leadership, Chesterfield also created C-Fit, a nationally recognized employee wellness program that has helped improve the wellbeing of county staff while moderating annual increases in healthcare costs.
“I’ve known Scott for several years and got to know him best when we were classmates in Leadership Metro Richmond,” said Chris Shockley, President/CEO of Virginia Credit Union. “I’ve known him to be a dedicated public servant who has done a lot to help Chesterfield grow and prosper. Virginia Credit Union is based in Chesterfield County and counts a great many of its employees among our membership. We wish him all the best in his retirement and future endeavors.”
During his tenure as one of Casey’s four deputy county administrators, Zaremba has worked alongside Risk Management staff to protect both employees and citizens from Legionella – the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease -- and COVID-19 in public buildings.
Chesterfield has reimagined the role of public libraries over the past 18 months, using them as satellite voting locations for general elections, teleworking/virtual learning sites during COVID-related office/school closures and resources for helping county residents register for vaccines. As a result, CCPL was named Library of the Year for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
And in addition to a number of planned improvements at the county airport, including extension of its runway, Zaremba has coordinated with Dominion Energy on the development of a state-mandated plan that maintains public access to two recreational facilities, Henricus Historical Park and the Dutch Gap Conservation Area, while Dominion relocates millions of tons of coal ash at its Chesterfield Power Station.
“We wish Scott Zaremba all the best in his next chapter,” said James Beazley, Dominion Energy regional policy director. “Scott has been a tireless advocate for Chesterfield County citizens and manages one of the best municipal park and recreation systems in the Commonwealth. In the coming years and decades, Scott’s vision around the Henricus Historical Site and Dutch Gap Conservation Area and the planning of two new boat launches on the James River will only add to the county’s position as truly an ideal place to live, work and play.”
While Zaremba has been recognized by the National Association of Counties (NACO) with five individual awards, colleagues describe him as a quintessential “team player” – a collaborative leader who surrounds himself with good people, gives them the freedom to do their jobs without micromanagement and defers credit to his employees instead of trying to claim the spotlight for himself.
“I worked with Scott for almost three decades. When you work with someone that long, they are not just a co-worker, they become part of your family,” said Martin Selby, who noted she and Zaremba refer to each other as “work siblings.”
“I'm happy Scott has achieved this milestone in his career, but I will personally miss having him as my ‘work brother.’”