INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — IVGID officials are meeting to determine if changes are needed to a 29-year-old policy granting the district’s general manager oversight on various personnel matters, a decision made after current leader Bill Horn approved $106,000 in pay raises for senior staff.
Last Wednesday, the Incline Village General Improvement District Board of Trustees voted 3-2 to form a committee to dissect Resolution No. 1480. The policy, created in 1984, grants the board the role of establishing overall IVGID policy direction, while defining the GM’s role as the person who puts those guidelines into the day-to-day practice of hiring, firing, motivating, promoting, demoting, compensating and training individual employees.
The issue stems from Horn’s decision to include pay raises for select senior staff members as part of the 2013-14 fiscal budget, which trustees approved via a 3-2 vote at a special meeting on May 16. At the meeting, trustees Jim Hammerel and Jim Smith voiced concern about the raises, questioning if they were prudent considering current economic conditions are still unstable. In the end, trustees Bruce Simonian, Bill Devine and Joe Wolfe voted in favor of the budget — and thus the raises — while Smith and Hammerel voted against.
Horn has defended the raises numerous times since the meeting, and did so again in a phone interview this week.
“There have been no what I would consider incentive raises for doing a good job since 2008, and as a result, seven key leaders had gotten drastically behind the competitive wages and pay at competitive utility districts in Northern California and Northern Nevada,” Horn said.
At last week’s meeting, Hammerel and Smith were also the dissenting votes against sending the 1480 discussion to committee.
“I feel that setting up a committee and taking four to six people out of their working day is another inefficiency. I think this can be done right now…” Hammerel said.
Hammerel proposed the board vote last Wednesday on changing the policy so future general managers’ decisions to adjust salaries for full-time employees be approved first by the board, an idea backed by Smith — but not by Simonian, the board’s chair.
“We’re undermining the position of the general manager by having to approve his decisions,” Simonian said. “This resolution’s been on the table for 29 years; it’s been time tested.”
Hammerel said he wants board oversight over pay raises for full-time employees because he “personally was not comfortable with how the raises came about” when the board reviewed them on May 16.
“What these changes do don’t limit the general manager’s powers to conduct his job, but gives the board some insight into why those decisions were made,” Hammerel said. “In several months, we will have a new general manager, and I think that perhaps tightening the reins on somebody new … will allow us to maintain some sort of oversight with a new employee.”
Horn — who has set a retirement date for Dec. 31, 2013 — said he sent confidential memos to the trustees prior to the budget meeting on May 16 informing them of the proposed raises.
When asked this week, Horn declined to reveal who’s receiving raises. A document obtained by the Bonanza, however, indicates six positions receiving raises: Director of Public Works; Engineering Manager; Director of Finance, Accounting and Risk Management; Director of Human Resources; Clerk to the Board of Trustees and Executive Assistant to the GM; and Public Works Administrative Manager.
Last Wednesday, Devine said he was in support of creating the 1480 committee because ample time is needed to review the policy.
“I think it’s much too complicated an issue to resolve tonight,” Wolfe added. “The community also has to have an input on this, and I can’t think of a better way to do that, than with another meeting and another committee.”
The committee includes Wolfe, Hammerel, Horn, IVGID board clerk Susan Herron and Dee Carey, the district’s human resources manager.
Horn said he feels it’s important for him to sit on the committee because he’s either eliminated, transferred or done job sharing with 31 positions since coming on as GM in 2002, equating to millions in savings to the district.
The committee’s recommendation is expected to be on the board agenda for June 12, starting at 3 p.m. at 893 Southwood Blvd.