Making history: Judge is first female, first person of color to be Dayton city manager

Dayton City Manager Kimberly Judge

At a special-called council meeting on Jan. 12, the City of Dayton, Texas, made history by selecting its first ever female and black city manager, Kimberly Judge. Judge has worked for the city for eight years, most recently serving as the assistant city manager and director of Planning and Development Services. Starting Friday, Jan. 13, she will take up her new role.

“I cannot be happier to welcome you on board as our city manager. I know that together we are going to do great things for the city,” said Dayton Mayor Caroline Wadzeck, handing Judge her new badge as city manager.

To mark the historic moment and in a show of support for Judge, dozens of current Dayton City employees attended the meeting and cheered and clapped as Council members voted in favor of offering Judge the position and a contract as city manager.

City of Dayton employees surround new City Manager Kimberly Judge in a show of support after she was selected for the position Thursday evening.

“I do want to thank the council and the mayor. I really appreciate you guys for your support. I want to thank all of my fellow coworkers. We are going to do things that brighten Dayton,” she said. “I am here to tell you that I am so proud to be here. Our focus is going to be the core of our community. We are going to let the citizens know that we are here for them, and we are their servants. We are here to serve this community.”

Judge has more than 38 years of combined municipal government experience with Beaumont, Baytown and Sealy, and the last eight years with Dayton.

“She not only has the experience and knowledge, but she also has the love and connection with our community that will make her a successful city manager. During her time working for the City of Dayton, [Judge] has served as Director of Planning, Assistant City Manager and Interim Public Works Director. Throughout her tenure, she has always had involvement in Community Development and Planning, but she has also worked with parks, planning and zoning, economic development, and has served as the department head over Public Works, the community center and the Jones Public Library,” according to a statement from the City of Dayton.

Dayton City Manager Kimberly Judge is pictured with her son Marcus James (left) and her husband Rayfield Guidry following Thursday night’s special-called city council meeting.

During her time in Dayton, Judge has had the opportunity to participate in the Water and Wastewater Master Plan, Gulf Inland Logistics Park planning, Downtown Revitalization Plan, the Grand Parkway planning and development, TxDOT sidewalk projects, and the creation of Dayton’s Unified Development Code. She also has helped the City secure more than $9 million in grant funding.

Judge earned a bachelor of science degree from Prairie View A&M University and has numerous hours of municipal government training in leadership development and planning. She has an extensive background that comes from working in many different city departments.

Judge grew up in Beaumont, Texas, and has been living in Liberty County for the last 22 years. She is married to her husband, Rayfield Guidry, and together they have one son, Marcus James. The couple also has three grandchildren.

When she isn’t working, Judge participates in many civic and social activities, and has a passion for gardening, antique cars, roasting coffee and mead-making.

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.


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