Commissioners pick Larry Werner for Douglas County manager’s job
MINDEN, Nev. — For the second time in less than two years, Larry Werner will take the reins in Douglas County after commissioners voted 4-1 to approve a one-year contract.
Under the contract, Werner will be paid $172,000 for the year, along with a $700 per month car allowance. He will start work March 7.
Former Douglas County manager Jim Nichols’ last day was Jan. 29 by mutual agreement with commissioners. Nichols will receive six-months severance pay.
Resident Jim Slade said he felt Werner did a good job the last time he was in the interim position, but he was concerned about the salary.
“I hope that going forward $172,000 isn’t considered as the low end for county manager,” he said. “There’s no reason we should pay our county manager more than the governor makes.”
Johnson Lane resident Lynn Muzzy suggested that if assistant county manager Christine Vuletich and acting county manager Mimi Moss couldn’t handle the job, then the county should clean house.
“I don’t know what magic Larry Werner would bring to the position,” he said.
Resident Jack Van Dien said that Werner might be a good resource to find out why the county has gone through three managers in four years.
“Considering the fact that Mr. Werner has dealt with you twice, perhaps you should take advantage of the opportunity to discuss with him the dysfunction that has apparently lost three county managers in a row, so the next permanent county manager will stay for a while.”
Commissioner Nancy McDermid pointed out that Vuletich was working on the county budget while Moss was working on the 20-year update of the master plan.
“We’re recognizing one of our own,” she said. “Mr. Werner has been a resident of Douglas County for over 20 years. He understands the concerns that Douglas County has.”
Commissioner Greg Lynn said the money proposed for Werner is commensurate with what regional managers are making.
“It’s not like I don’t know what we’re buying here,” he said. “We made a mistake with Jim Nichols. The vetting process does not reveal the type of issues we had with Nichols.”
Commissioner Barry Penzel objected Werner’s hiring and the contract.
He said paying Werner so much would create a morale issue among county employees.
“We should be hiring from within,” he said. “Mimi (Moss) has done an excellent job. Communications have been superior. She has a succession plan within her organization.”
Penzel said he had personal and professional issues with Werner. He said Werner interrupted county commissioners during deliberations.
Commissioner Steve Thaler, who was the second vote against approaching Werner in January, said he supported hiring him.
“I’m not as critical as I was at the Lake meeting,” he said. “I think he’s the guy.”
Werner thanked commissioners and said he would “try to make things better than in the past.”
The contract could be terminated at any time with 30 days notice. Werner would not receive medical insurance, sick leave, vacation or retirement while working for the county.
This will be the second time Werner has been Douglas County manager. Werner took over for Douglas County Manager Steve Mokrohisky in spring 2014.
Werner told commissioners that his company, BHC Consulting, is also working for Minden and Carson City, but that he would be exclusive to Douglas County.