INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The Incline Village General Improvement District Board of Trustees and staff will conduct all-day public interviews on Monday, Dec. 2, with the six candidates to become the district’s next general manager.
According to the district, the process begins at 8:35 a.m. at The Chateau at 955 Fairway Blvd. Interviews before staff and board panels will take place before and after lunch.
A social reception will take place from 4:30-6 p.m., giving residents a chance to meet the candidates. After the reception, the panels will be debriefed, and the board may action on steps moving forward.
The candidates are Keven Burnett, Tom Masterson, Rosemary Menard, Steve Pinkerton, Eric Severance and Kirk Wooldridge.
In October, the Bonanza published an email Q-and-A with Burnett, Masterson, Menard and Severance, who are four of the original six candidates. Since, Pinkerton and Wooldridge were added to the finalist list. This week, they were asked them same questions. Their responses are below.
1. What made you decide to apply for this position?
2. At times, the critics in Incline Village can be loud, and the opinions from residents can be plenty. How do you propose to work with a community that is very vocal on how IVGID should be operated?
3. Do you feel IVGID should be run like a public agency or a business? Perhaps a bit of both?
4. Have you done business in the past or have any other affiliation with the district, its current senior management team and/or the current board of trustees? If so, do you feel there are any conflicts of interest regarding those previous relationships?
5. IVGID is able to operate several of its amenities via the annual Recreation Fee for each property owner, the rate of which has held steady at $830 the past few years. Would it be a priority of yours to maintain or diminish that fee? Why or why not?
6. What’s your assessment of how the board of trustees oversees the district, and how do you feel the role of the general manager fits into that oversight?
7. Is there anything you feel needs immediate attention regarding district operations?
ANSWERS — STEVE PINKERTON
1. While I haven’t been actively looking for a new position, the recruitment brochure piqued my interest. The opportunity to manage a service-focused Special District in one of the most liveable communties in the country is a unique opportunity. The position responsibilities also closely match the areas of municipal management which I find most rewarding. Supplying clean water, properly disposing of our waste and wastewater, and providing a wide variety of recreational amenties are the areas of government that have the most daily impact on a community’s quality of life.
2. I’ve worked in a number of very politically charged communities. I’ve had to recommend countless actions which were not popular to a large contingent of the population—and in many cases--my supporters one week, were my opponents at the next meeting. Despite these circumstances, I’ve made very few permanent enemies along the way and help to launch hundreds of successful programs, projects, and initiatives over the past three decades. The key to succeeding in a challenging environment is fairly straightforward:
• treat your supporters and opponents with an equal amount of respect;
• seek out your critics and solicit their views;
• present the facts in an honest and objective manner;
• be humble in victory and honorable in defeat.
3. Running a public entity is not like running a corporation. Unlike a corporate CEO, the General Manager must respect a wide variety of democratic values—not just economic efficiency but representation, social equity and individual rights. The General Manager must understand how to meld these often competing values into an operation that is both economically feasible and politically viable. This person must be apolitical but politically astute. Ignoring or favoring one competing value over another guarantees failure. Success comes from collaborating with the trustees, competing interest groups and staff to develop programs and policies which are practical, economical and universally acceptable.
4. I have never done business with IVGID and I have not met any of the Trustees or any of the staff.
5. I’ve spent most of the past five years dealing with the challenge of maintaining services levels while revenues are diminishing and costs are increasing. I’ve been lucky to work with staff members and policymakers who have been willing to make the sacrifices and hard decisions necessary to meet this goal. I’m now hard wired to always try and find ways to keep costs equal or less than the status quo. While I’m not intimately familiar with the District’s finances, I’m guessing that it is experiencing the same challenge as every other entity—cost structures are rising far more quickly than revenues. For the District’s commercial recreational operations, there is undoubtedly the additional challenge of ever-increasing competition from private entities that may have superior cost structures and better access to capital funding. Given these circumstances, my first priority would be to assess the long term economic viability of our recreational amenities. I would then provide the Board and the community with the long term cost implications of maintaining these amenities. It would then be my responsibility to develop a plan consistent with the direction of the Board and the community.
6. While I’ve spent a considerable amount of time reviewing the Board’s meeting minutes, finances, strategic plan and other documents, I don’t have a fraction of the information necessary to properly assess the performance of the Board. In fact, it isn’t the General Manager’s role to assess the Board. It is the General Manager’s job to work with the Board, the staff and the community to efficiently and effectively implement the vision for the District. More specifically, the General Manager plays a key role as a facilitator, consensus builder and as the lead for implementing the vision. As I noted in question 3, this person must be apolitical, but also very politically astute in order to successfully build consensus. They must be willing to challenge the stakeholders to listen to divergent views. They must encourage individuals to acknowledge the pros and cons of every alternative, including their preferred choice. Ultimately, the General Manager must ensure that every alternative is properly vetted and that the recommended direction is economically, politically and administratively sustainable.
7. As I noted in the question above, I don’t have enough information to accurately assess the current state of the District’s operations. As General Manager, I will work closely with the Board, the staff and the community and review every program, project and function within the District—both initially and on an ongoing basis. My goal as a Manager has always been to promote a culture which acknowledges that change is inevitable and constant. Today’s solution could become tomorrow’s liability. Much of the District’s operations (including its commercial enterprises) are at the mercy of regulatory agencies which frequently modify rules without regard to the financial, social or operational impacts of their decision. It has been my experience that organizations that embrace instead of resist change, are more adept at anticipating and adjusting to the whims of today’s volatile regulatory environment—just as they are better suited to deal with changing economic conditions and changes in community preferences.
ANSWERS — KIRK WOOLdRIDGE
1. I have been fortunate to live and work in the Eastern Sierras for thirteen years 1995-2008, and have continued to recreate in this world class destination every year since. I have worked in the Lake Tahoe area from 2003-2008, and still currently own property in the area. I am a graduate of the North Lake Tahoe – Truckee Leadership Program 2005, and Nevada Small Business Development Center – NxLevel Entrepreneur Class 2008. I have experience working in leadership positions for the past 28 years in the Community and Hospitality Management fields. I have been successful in my career working with Boards of Directors for the past 10 years, providing leadership and direction to deliver results.
2. In my career in Community and Hospitality Management I am always listening to my customers, residents, owners and employees to achieve a better understanding of current issues. To provide excellence in customer service time needs to be spent understanding the target audience. Working through issues both positive and negative toward a “win-win” solution is always the goal in mind, when I have the opportunity to guide and lead discussions. I believe all feedback from the Community should be respected and valued for consideration in areas than can be addressed for improvement.
3. The Incline General Village Improvement District (IVGID) is a one of a kind business model that will be required to adapt to the ever changing market conditions. I would strive to find a balance in operating the IVGID as a public agency and an entrepreneurial business. The IVGID is required to meet all applicable Nevada laws governing public agencies, IVGID Ordinances and Board Resolutions. In areas where excess capacity exists that can generate additional revenue and savings for IVGID, without diminishing access and service levels to our residents, are areas that should be capitalized on. I would continue to identify those best practices and systems to operate IVGID in the most cost efficient manner, while meeting and exceeding the expected service levels.
4. I have not conducted business with IVGID or any of its affiliates in a professional capacity. I have enjoyed IVGID recreational amenities as a guest and customer skiing/snowboarding at Diamond Peak, playing golf at both golf courses and visiting the legendary Incline Village beaches.
5. As a quasi-governmental agency IVGID is responsible for the operations and on going maintenance of its utilities, infrastructure and recreational amenities. Working with the IVGID Board of Trustees, IVGID Staff and Residents to examine amenity usage and service levels that are components of the recreational fee can provide better insights into opportunities to find cost efficiencies and savings. In operating any business public or private you are required to look for operational efficiencies, and revenue opportunities that equate to bottom line savings. Where possible these savings can be passed along to the IVGID Residents through the recreational fee, if all short term and long term funding obligations are met.
6. Under the general direction of the IVGID Board of Trustees the General Manager assumes full responsibility and management of the District. It is always my goal for the Board and General Manager to be a unified management team. The Board of Trustees sets the strategic goals, policies, general and budget direction. The General Manager is tasked with executing the Board of Trustees direction through leading and guiding the IVGID Staff.
7. To continue to improve communication across all levels of IVGID Management, Staff, Residents and the Board of Trustees. To understand the current operations of the IVGID, I would conduct operational review meetings with all department heads to understand their departments, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Work with the IVGID Board of Trustees to reprioritize short and long term strategic goals during this transitional period. Then familiarize IVGID Management, Staff and myself with current term Board of Trustees direction and strategic goals.