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Before he was James Zervis of Kern County, he was Jim in Shafter and Wasco

Posted at 5:56 PM, Feb 07, 2024
  • In a surprise move, Wednesday, Kern County officials announced that James Zervis, the County's Administrative Officer, will be resigning in early March to take a new job in Florida.
  • Before Zervis worked for the County, he worked in both Wasco's and Shafter's city governments in various positions. 23ABC spoke to a handful of people who worked with Zervis over his several years in those local governments, all of whom gave glowing reviews of his personal and professional acumen.


As you know Kern County just announced that James Zervis, the Chief Administrative Officer for the county, will be leaving his position, but before his time with the county, he spent over a decade working in Kern County communities behind the scenes and more commonly known as Jim.

In his first foray into city government, Zervis spent 5 years in Wasco working in various capacities behind the scenes on the city’s finances. Tilo Cortez was a Wasco City Council member for over 15 years and worked alongside Zervis during his time with the city. Cortez noted that Zervis wasn’t just good at what he did, he was good at ensuring everyone understood it as well.

“What stood out the most to me was his patience, his ability to articulate his point. Even though we may not understand all as city councilors we may not understand everything there is about finances. He had a way to explain it and articulate it,” said Cortez.

Following his time in Wasco, Zervis moved on to the City of Shafter, where he spent almost 9 years working in their finance department. Current Mayor Pro Tempore and long-time Shafter City Council Member Cathy Prout made a similarly glowing remark.

“With people he was excellent. He had to deal with some situations within our own department that involved the public that we clashed with, and he had an approach to them and was able to solve the issues. But financially you couldn't beat him. I mean, he just he's just excellent with it,” said Prout.

Last but not least, in 2020 Zervis made the jump to work for Kern County, which is where his story ends here, but going back to where he started in Kern County governments, he seemed to leave an impression as Jim.

“Jim was an amazing individual. He was an amazing human being. He just had a way, when he spoke to you, he, he made you feel like you were the only one there,” said Cortez.

“I always told him he was always welcome back. And I would tell him that today,” said Prout.

According to a county spokesperson Zervis’ last day working for Kern County will be March 8th.

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