Kevin MacMillan

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January 16, 2013
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IVGID board begins process of replacing GM Bill Horn

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. - The 2013 IVGID board kick-started the process of searching for a new general manager by discussing its options - and at times disagreeing with some - during the trustees' first meeting of the year last Wednesday.

Joe Wolfe, entering his third year as trustee, suggested the board look into seeking bids for an executive search firm to look for candidates to replace current GM Bill Horn, who retires Dec. 31, 2013.

"We need to get started on this project, because it's going to take a long time. It could ... be at least a six-month process," Wolfe said.

New trustee Jim Hammerel suggested a committee be formed to create a new job description for the position, and "then go from there."

"I don't know if farming this out is the right move ... spending money on a search firm," he said.

The current 2012-13 budget does not include funds to spend on a search firm. During the meeting, trustees said a headhunting firm typically makes a commission if one of its candidates gets the job, and in this case it could be as much as 15 percent of the new GM's salary.

According to previous reports, Horn - who has held the position of Incline Village General Improvement District general manager since 2002 - has made upward of $150,000 annually over the past several years, a figure that doesn't include a potential $25,000 yearly bonus.

Hammerel also suggested the position be advertised first in an effort to attract locals who may be qualified for the position, something to which third-year trustee Bruce Simonian agreed.

Wolfe, however, did not.

"I disagree," he said while pointing to the audience. "Those people elected us to do a job, and this is the most important job we will ever do. We don't want to limit ourselves here; we want this to be a long-term situation."

During public comment, resident Bea Epstein, who lost her bid for re-election to the board last year, shared a similar view.

"When searching for talent, to limit yourselves to just the core community, it will tie your hands," she said.

Offering a different idea, resident and former trustee candidate Aaron Katz said the district could save a lot of money if the board didn't hire a general manager and instead made do with the staff currently in place.

The board eventually voted 5-0 to create a two-person committee of trustees, Simonian and Jim Smith, to draft a new job description to be brought back to a future board meeting for approval.

Earlier in the meeting, the board voted 5-0 to draft a letter of support of the eLearning Cafe and its controversial proposal to the Washoe County Library Board of Trustees to consider housing its learning center within the Incline Village Library.

According to previous reports, the cafe's founder, Kathryn Kelly, said the effort would keep the local library open much longer each week - up from its current 30 hours to as many as 70 - without increasing operating costs by using eLearning staff as unpaid volunteers.

Library staff has been hesitant to come out in favor of the plan, according to previous reports, considering the Washoe County District Attorney's Office has to determine what authority the county has under Nevada state law to enter into this sort of agreement.

Last Wednesday, Kelly said she's been discouraged about an apparent attempt by library staff to not allow the idea to be discussed by the board, which meets monthly in Reno. As of last Wednesday, Kelly had garnered more than 150 signatures on a petition in support of the idea.

"The community is behind this ... it deserves a collaborative effort," she said.

Prior to the board's unanimous vote to draft a letter, Horn spoke about the library board, saying it's struggled over the years "to think outside of the box" and work with Incline Village, and that "this isn't the first time (they've said), 'I'm not willing to cooperate.'"

The issue has drawn controversy over the past week, with several letters to the editor raising concern about what legal authority the public library board has to enter into a private agreement, and what precedent the idea may set for multiple nonprofit requests of agencies to gain free access to public buildings in exchange for volunteer work.

The Washoe County Library Board was scheduled to discuss the idea and its legal ramifications at its meeting Wednesday in Reno, the results of which were unknown as of press time.

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jan 16, 2013 07:37PM Published Jan 16, 2013 07:35PM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.