It’s entirely possible Douglas County will select a replacement for County Manager Patrick Cates on Thursday. They could also choose to conduct an open search.
Both Assistant County Manager Jenifer Davidson and Chief Financial Officer Terri Willougby have expressed an interest in the position Cates vacates on June 5.
Cates said he was providing his notice on Friday, so commissioners would be able to consider it at their meeting on Thursday.
"I feel good about the work accomplished by Douglas County in the last four years," he said in a note to The Record-Courier. "Looking forward, I am confident in the leadership of the Board of County Commissioners and the diligence and skill of county staff. It has been a privilege to serve Douglas County and be part of this community."
Cates said he is recommending Willougby, who is a Minden resident.
Just coming off four days of budget hearings, Willougby has worked for the county for 4.5 years.
“She has done an outstanding job putting the county on a sound and transparent financial footing,” he said.
Davidson, a long-time resident, actually served as interim county manager and was briefly under consideration for the role when Cates was hired.
“Her work in establishing the vacation home rental program, leadership during emergencies such as the Tamarack Fire, labor negotiations and the creation of an advanced ethics in government training program are notable and commendable achievements,” Cates said.
In a letter to county employees, Cates said his decision was in part due to the health of his father and father-in-law and the recent death of his mother.
“The loss of my mother to cancer last summer has led me to reflect on my priorities,” he said. “I love my job and am grateful for the opportunity to serve Douglas County. I am grateful for the incredible support I’ve received during my tenure. But I have come to the conclusion I cannot do justice both to the challenging job of county manager and the growing needs of my family at the same time.”
Last year, Cates received permission from commissioners to move back to Washoe Valley citing the needs of his father and father-in-law
“I am fortunate to be in a position to make the decision to retire and spend more time with family, helping my wife and our parents. For that reason, I am stepping aside,” he said in the letter.
Cates was hired March 6, 2019, after Douglas had gone through a difficult search for a new county manager to replace Larry Werner, who had been under contract. The requirement he live in the county was included in the original contract. Cates’ contract was set to expire on June 30, 2024.
Cates was Nevada Department of Administration Director in Gov. Brian Sandoval’s cabinet when he applied for the position in December 2018.
He was offered the job by Gov. Steve Sisolak but decided to work for Douglas County instead.
He formerly served as deputy director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife and is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno.