Six Douglas County manager finalists head for interviews
Of a half-dozen candidates to be interviewed next week for the Douglas County manager’s job, five are western Nevada residents.
Douglas County commissioners made short work of reducing a list of 39 candidates to six on Monday, Dec. 10.
Human Resources Director Wendy Lang told commissioners that background and criminal checks won’t be done until commissioners decide on a candidate.
That person will negotiate with the county for salary and perks. The salary range for the position is $168,000-$235,000.
Commissioners have been working to find a new county manager since July when Larry Werner announced he was terminating his contract effective Aug. 31.
This is the second attempt the county has made to find a county manager. On Werner’s last day, a citizen’s panel interviewed candidates and found none of the candidates qualified to recommend to commissioners, prompting a second search, which closed on Dec. 3.
Interviews of the six candidates are scheduled to take place 10 a.m. Dec. 17 at the Douglas County Courthouse in Minden.
Commissioners debated briefly whether they would require a county manager candidate who lives nearby to move to Douglas County for the job.
Both incoming county commissioners Wes Rice and John Engels gave their approval for the list.
“There are four people that I thought were outstanding and they’re all on the list,” Rice said.
Applicant retired Marine Maj. Mark Wlaschin was unsuccessful in seeking a third vote to make the final cut.
He said he felt county staff was excellent but that there was a lack of continuity.
“If you have a new quarterback every play you’re not going to win,” he said. “Ask where those applicants will be in five years. I can tell you that I will be in Douglas County in five years.”
The finalists for county manager include:
State Department of Administration Director Patrick Cates has worked for three years for Gov. Brian Sandoval.
As a cabinet level appointee, Cates is making $11,000 a month and supervises 500 employees. He is seeking $200,000 a year from the county.
He formerly served as deputy director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife. Cates worked for a former Douglas County commissioner and director of the Nevada Department of Cultural Affairs. He is a graduate of the University of Nevada, and lives in Washoe Valley.
Former Effingham County, Ga., administrator Steve Davis is the only non-Nevadan on the list. With a master’s degree in public administration, Davis said he supervised 405 employees, and was paid $11,000 a month before he left the position in October after a year.
According to news reports, Davis resigned after citing health issues and a desire to focus on his family.
He’d previously served as executive director of the Georgia’s chapter of the American Concrete Pavement Association for four years. Davis served four terms in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2005-2013.
Davis is seeking $180,000 a year from the county.
Michael Johnson has served as Churchill County planning director for the past six years. A Fallon resident, he holds a master’s degree from the University of Nevada, Reno in land use planning. He was previously planning and building director in Pershing County for four years.
Johnson is seeking $170,000 a year from the county.
Outgoing Nevada State Controller Ron Knecht is hoping that his next job will be Douglas County manager.
A Carson City resident, Knecht holds a law degree and a master’s degree. Knecht served as a university regent for eight years until he was elected controller.
He was senior economist for the Nevada Public Utilities Commission from 2001 to 2012, when he was fired. He denied that he conducted outside political activities on the job, and said he was never informed about the reason for his dismissal. He also served a term in the Nevada Assembly. Knecht is seeking $200,000 from the county.
Genoa resident Niel E. Nelson is a retired Marine Corps general, who served as deputy commanding general for Combat Development Command in Quantico, Va., before retiring in July. Nelson was commanding general for Marine forces in Europe and Africa for two years reporting directly to the commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.
Nelson holds three master’s degrees. He is seeking $225,000 a year from the county.
Genoa resident Tom Stone has been a real estate broker and salesperson for the past five years, having previously served as deputy director of real estate development for the Nevada Rural Housing Authority.
He also served as Lassen County manager for eight months in 2010. Stone sued the county for wrongful termination. The lawsuit was settled in 2014.
Stone is seeking $170,000 a year from the county.