INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. - Last month my liberal counterpart, Ed Gurowitz, wrote a column headlined: "Some advice to the new IVGID board - slow down." Ed's concern was that two of the newly elected trustees had packed the agenda of their first meeting with 171 pages on broadly diverse subjects and dealt with them in a "brief" four-hour meeting. Ed's point is well taken, but he might have also dealt with priorities. There are barely 10 months remaining of the tenure of soon-to-retire IVGID General Manager Bill Horn, and nothing effective has been done to initiate a search for a successor.
Incline Village has attracted as residents some of the most successful and talented people in the world. One such person is Floyd Kuehnis, formerly a national managing partner with accounting and consulting firm KPMG. Floyd, who has worked with hundreds of major companies on financial and personnel issues, is concerned with the process the IVGID Board is using to select Bill Horn's replacement.
He understands that Nevada's Open Meeting Law effectively limits board members of counties, cities and GIDs from acting in concert other than at public meetings and then only taking action on items appearing on a publicly posted agenda. It is essentially impossible to conduct confidential personnel interviews and form a board consensus about a candidate for IVGID general manager without breaking the law.
In an email to trustees Floyd wrote: "Selecting a new general manager is likely to be the most important (and hopefully long lasting) decision you will make in the near future." "The best person for the job is currently employed in an organization that is currently prospering." The law requiring trustees' official actions be public makes it effectively impossible to contact such prospects.
"To find this person," Floyd continued, "you will need professional help. An executive search firm offers the following key advantages: 1. An individual who has substantial experience can (incorporate the board's criteria) in putting together job descriptions (which) properly define the general manager position; 2. An executive search professional can interview each IVGID trustee and produce a tailored document for presentation to the board; 3. An effective search must look inside existing operations for the valued employee we need. "Posting" the job clutters the process with many who may simply want out of their existing positions and who are not qualified. The right person is probably not currently looking to be general manager of IVGID; 4. The best search process should not be limited to the immediate geographical region. Qualified search firms have the ability to look for individuals over a much broader area; 5. Candidates can be properly vetted. Interviewing a candidate ... is a skilled process. There are background checks, discussions with previous associates and personal interviews most people do only occasionally. An executive search firm does this every day - it is how they make a living."
Floyd concluded: "I encourage you to put the decision to hire an executive search firm on your next agenda. It is the right decision for our community and certainly for you as trustee."
Ed Gurowitz ended his column with a related thought: "This brings us to the matter of the new GM, a decision that will have a major impact on the direction of IVGID in the future. I can't see how the board can make this decision without a clear indication from the residents about what we want the character of the community to be. When Bill Horn announced his impending retirement, the work of Incline 2020 (Vision) went from interesting and important to crucial. Hopefully the board will take this work into account and not base its decision on generic hiring parameters."
Floyd and Ed make good points. Let's hope our trustees are listening.
- Jim Clark is president of Republican Advocates; he has served on the Washoe County and Nevada State GOP Central Committees. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.