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Tahoe Regional Planning Agency increases director’s wage

In its second try to secure a leader this year, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency is fishing for qualified applicants with meatier bait – more money.

“If you pay more you’ll always get more candidates,” said Michele Chouinard, TRPA’s human resources manager.

The bistate regulator bumped its executive director salary range from the previously offered $80,000 to $90,000 per year to $95,000 to $110,000 per year, said Dave Solaro, TRPA boardmember and chairman of the board’s selection committee.



“The salary was out of line and this brings it more in line with other positions in the area like the superintendent of schools and the city manager,” Solaro said. “We’re hoping that will attract more applicants.”

TRPA began its search for an executive director in January, when Jim Baetge, TRPA’s leader for five years, resigned for health reasons.




After an initial recruitment process that lasted months, the TRPA offered the chief position to attorney and Inyo County water director Greg James in May. James rejected the offer for personal reasons. Runner-up Pam Wilcox, a Nevada state lands administrator, also took herself out of the running for personal reasons.

John Marshall, TRPA’s legal counsel, has agreed to serve as acting executive director until a permanent replacement can be found.

For the price of about $30,000, the Sacramento-based headhunting firm Wilcox, Miller and George was hired in June to launch a new search.

As of last week, 33 applications were on file.

“I haven’t seen any of the applications yet so I don’t know what we have,” Solaro said. “We don’t really have a closing date per se because we want to try to get as many people as possible to apply but everything has to be in by Aug. 14 when the selection committee reviews the resumes.”

The selection committee, which includes TRPA boardmembers Solaro, Brian Sandoval, Joanne Neft and Kay Bennett, will review the applications and whittle the pool down to about six to 10 candidates. Three top applicants from the 10 will be identified through an Aug. 21 interviewing process with staff and community members. The three who make the cut will go before the 14-member governing board Aug. 23 for a final interview. All the interview meetings will be open to the public as determined by the Nevada public meeting law.

A selection is expected after the August board meeting, Chouinard said.

“I would think that by the end of September we will have someone in there,” she said.

The TRPA’s executive director position is the last of the four lead positions to be filled at the South Shore, which has experienced a turnover in leadership this year.

In May, the city of South Lake Tahoe hired David Childs, of Minnesota, as its city manager and the Forest Service hired Maribeth Gustafson, of southern California, for its forest supervisor position. Diane Scheerhorn, of Michigan, will assume the superintendent position at the Lake Tahoe Unified School District in September.

Solaro, who also serves as supervisor to El Dorado County, said the TRPA job could be the most important of the four chief positions that came open this year in the basin.

“It’s a very important part of the overall Lake Tahoe picture,” he said. “We’re looking for someone who has good leadership, management and people skills.”

The complete job description for the TRPA executive director job can be viewed at Wilcox, Miller and George’s Web site at http://www.wmg.com/search

What: TRPA executive director interview

When: Aug, 23, 9:30 a.m.

Where: Tahoe Seasons Resort, at the corner of Keller and Saddle Roads, South Lake Tahoe


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