Douglas County names county manager finalist
GARDNERVILLE, Nev. — Genoa resident Tom C. Stone was selected as a finalist for Douglas County manager.
The decision was made on a 4-1 vote by commissioners on Dec. 17.
“I appreciate the confidence and support of the commissioners,” Stone said in an email the following day. “The commissioner’s policies will be implemented utilizing my experience and success in protecting our water resources while at the same time managing growth. We have a vested interest in the future of this beautiful and historic county. I’m excited to work with our talented employees at the county, and commit to work for a smooth transition as the new board assumes office in January.”
Stone, who served as an Eagle County, Colorado commissioner from 1998 to 2006, was the last man to be interviewed on Monday.
“As a former county commissioner and county manager in very similar rural counties, I felt the need to be of service and support to this place we call home.”
Commissioner Dave Nelson was the lone vote against him.
The next step will be for the county to draft a contract for Stone’s consideration in consultation with Commission Chairman Steve Thaler and Vice Chairman Barry Penzel, according to Chief Civil Deputy District Attorney Doug Ritchie.
“I have already been in contact with Mr. Stone and look forward to a productive discussion,” Ritchie said.
Stone, who is self-employed as a Realtor, is asking for $170,000 a year from the county, which is on the lower end of the pay scale.
He served as deputy director of the Nevada Rural Housing Authority from 2011 to 2013, as director of real estate development. According to his resume, he was a registered lobbyist representing housing authority before the Nevada Legislature.
Before arriving in Nevada, Stone was county manager in Lassen County, California for eight months from 2010 to 2011.
He sued the county for wrongful termination, saying supervisors wanted to hide illegal spending of federal grants. The lawsuit was settled in 2014.
“I’ve done some investigation into Mr. Stone’s time at Lassen County, and he was a true whistleblower,” Commissioner Larry Walsh said. “That’s something we haven’t seen here before.”
Stone was director of Real Estate Development for the Montgomery, Alabama, Housing Authority from 2009 to 2010.
Stone served as Eagle County commissioner from 1998 to 2006, until he said he was term-limited out.
Stone and his wife Henri are members of the Battle Born Mounted Posse.
Commissioners are scheduled to discuss Stone’s contract in January when the new board takes over.
Thaler and Commissioner Nancy McDermid are going off the board. Chambers Field resident John Engels and Lake Tahoe resident Wes Rice are taking those seats.
“They all interviewed well,” McDermid said.
Penzel asked if any candidates wanted to withdraw from the running after public comment.
“I thought (Stone) was able to tie his experience as a county manager and county commissioner to what we’re going through,” Penzel said, rating Stone and Nevada Department of Administration Director Patrick Cates at the top.
Walsh said that Stone was the only candidate who checked all the boxes he had for county manager.
“There are a lot of issues the county manager will have before him, including the Legislature and the county budget,” Walsh said.
Nelson said he disagreed with the requirement that the candidate should be a county or assistant county manager.
“Some of these people , such as the general, have held a lot higher positions than a county manager” Nelson said.
Nelson rated former State Controller Ron Knecht as his top candidate.
“Ron Knecht was the highest person as far as I was concerned,” he said. “Knecht was top for time management. They were all excellent candidates. We did get the cream of the crop as far as that goes. He was the only one who mentioned a succession for assistant county manager.”
Commissioner-elect Wes Rice said that he felt included in the process and supported the board’s decision.
“I want to thank this board,” he said. “I have felt included and that my thoughts mattered. This was grueling, and I was very torn because I have dear friends in this room. I know that as disappointed as some are, that you have made a good decision.”
Engels, on the other hand, said he felt misled by the process.
“This is a travesty of simple common consideration to the incoming commissioners,” Engels said. “As it stands now the new board of commissioners, some of whom had no opportunity to interview or vote on any candidate will have no choice but to accept what the lame duck commissioners have handed us and the citizens of Douglas County.”
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