Dr. Dan Zieg filed the paperwork to run for Marathon City Council on Wednesday. The retired orthopedic doctor said he wants to help the city generate new ideas.
“In the most recent election, the voters of Marathon asked for fresh ideas and new faces and I think that’s extremely important,” he said.
Zieg jokes that he’s part of the silent majority.
“Most of us have just sat back for the past few years and watched the politics happen,” he said. “I think it’s time to step up and do my civic duty.”
Currently, Zieg serves on the Planning Commission. This is his second appointment, tagged to serve by former Councilwoman Ginger Snead and current Mayor Dick Ramsay. He’s especially interested in becoming involved in planning Marathon’s future development.
“Marathon is going to grow, whether we like it or not,” Zieg said. “We have be be smart about how it grows. How many hotels are we going to have? Where are we going to get the rentals or affordable housing for the workers? We need a definite plan for the future.”
With his experience on the planning commission, Zieg has formed some opinions about current issues unfolding at City Hall.
• “I think Mikey [Puto, Acting City Manager] is doing a fine job. I’ve never seen the staff happier.”
• “I think bringing the finance department in house is a wonderful move, a great cost-saving move. I think we can find qualified individuals to do that job and keep them under the control of city government.”
• “I approve of the recent decision regarding city hall. I think a moderate-size building is good.”
• “I think changing to a three-year term is a good idea. The only time you can get something done in a two-year term is in the first six months. When you’re running for reelection you’re not going to say ‘no’ to anything or make the painful decisions that are necessary for the good of the city.”
In the past, Zieg was a steady volunteer for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department.
“As a reserve officer, I did all the ‘dirty’ jobs — parking enforcement and checking the fire lane and handicapped spots,” Zieg said, laughing. “That allows all the big guys to stay on the road and do the important stuff.”
Zieg attended medical school at Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana, his home state. He did his residency there before a fellowship in children’s orthopedics in Toronto, Canada. He has two grown sons, ages 30 and 32, living in Wisconsin and Missouri.
In the Keys, Zieg spends most of his time being shadowed by his black retriever, Carly. And he said what he likes most about Marathon is its populace.
“I’ve been vacationing here for 20 years and the weekends kept getting longer and longer,” he said, smiling. “The people in Marathon are very caring. And I think they are interested in the future of this city.”