R-C May 24, 2023, Letters to the Editor

Search for county manager nationwide


Douglas County now wants to save money by searching within for a new county manager. The best candidate will come from a nationwide search. A local can apply and may be the best choice.  He will bring the same old stuff to the table and will be conflicted by his past relationships within the county and his selectors. We need the best qualified and experienced professional to manage our county in these tense and uncertain times, new ideas from an individual who has done the job in a similar envi-ronment as Douglas County.

Jim Martin


Looking for new county manager


County Manager Patrick Cates, has chosen to leave his position in order to give him much needed attention to his family. Replacing him is a special challenge.

It is accepted wisdom that the departure of the chief executive position in local government organizations is disruptive and can undermine the organization’s ability to achieve its strategic priorities. Each time a leader is selected from outside the organization to assume the helm, instead of hitting the ground running, that individual is spending valuable time getting to know and understand the needs of the community and the employees, the goals of the Board of County Commissioners, and the dynamics and culture of the organization. 

In considering what is best for our county, it’s important to understand that since 2011 Douglas County has had nine different County Manager leadership changes, yes nine. The average length of a permanent appointment has been 2 years 8 months.

The recruitment and retention of quality employees continues to be problematic for our county. Since 2017, the voluntary departure of employees has remained constant between 18-22% with turnover approaching 25% of the organization this fiscal year alone. 

Compounding the issue of attrition, turnover in leadership positions across the organization is especially high. Of the department heads that lead the non-elected core functions of the county, one was recently hired in the last six months, three are anticipated to retire this coming fiscal year, and two more are expected to retire sometime in the next three years, accounting for turnover in all but three positions (67 percent). 

As noted in the 2019 Moss Adams Risk Assessment report and again noted in the Douglas County Human Capital Risk Assessment of 2022, “Management attrition puts the institutional knowledge base of the departments and the organization at greater risk and impacts the ability of departments to plan for the future properly and to conduct business efficiently.”

Did I vote to look internally first in the current search for a new county manager? The answer is yes, for all the above stated reasons. Should we determine as a Board of Commissioners collectively that no internal candidate is acceptable, however, I will then vote to take our search to the private sector both inside and outside our county.

Mark Gardner


Topaz Ranch Estates

Friendly advice for school board


Some friendly advice to our school board trustees.  You have now met five times, learn how to make motions and conduct a board meeting.  If inadequate training was provided to you when you took over, seek more training or just YouTube it, it’s what the students you are trying to protect do.  When the rule is no public outcry, heckling, clapping etc., abide by it.  Clapping in American Sign Language, is considered clapping and breaks that rule. You should reprimand the audience members who do that; it’s what a teacher would have to do to the student you represent.  Also, clapping in ASL when you are not address-ing a deaf or hard of hearing person is very disrespectful to those who are indeed deaf or hard of hearing; a teacher would reprimand one of the students you are protecting for doing so.  When participating as a school board trustee in the meeting via Zoom that board member should conduct themselves as if they were there in person.  It is unacceptable for that school board trustee to be carrying on a conversation with another person at their off-site location; teachers do not allow the students you are representing to engage in side conversations during instructional time.  If you were DCSD students, by the five month mark you would be nearing the end of your first semester, and frankly you would be failing.  Do better please. Educate yourselves, conduct yourselves in a respectful manner, it is what you would expect of the students you are trying to protect isn’t it?  And do it before you meet again on a super-hot topic that could impact all of Douglas County as a whole, not just DCSD.

Sophia Roussakis


Try putting yourself in others’ shoes


If parents and community members would place themselves in others’ shoes, all would find pretty tight fits a la Cinderella’s step-sisters.

On 16 May 2023, Doug Englekirk, Vice President of Douglas County’s School Board put forth his view of being a transgender as a “mental illness” and a way to gain popu-larity.  Another viewpoint follows:  A person that is neither one or the other (be it Boy/Girl, Black/White, Asian/White) may not find acceptance in either group.  It is as though one is in a No-Man’s-Land, not fully belonging anywhere.  Coming out as transgender can bring the fear of being ostracized, persecuted, and rejected by loved ones (family, friends and community).  Eighty-two percent of transgender individuals have considered killing themselves.  Forty-percent have attempted suicide.  Being transgender is not a way of life used to gain popularity.  It is also not a mental illness but a physiological one, a condition one inherits at birth.

It was mentioned by another attendee that transgenders who receive treatment (i.e. puberty blockers, gender-affirming intervention/hormones/surgeries) regret the decision to do so in later life.  However, it has been found that these treatments independently lower the odds of depression and anxiety by 60 percent.

Another participant brought forth the idea that a transgender would purposely and with malintent expose him or herself to others in school bath and locker rooms.  Not all transgenders undergo surgical procedures to change biological parts.  The desire to show off an incongruent body part is non-existent.

As far as equality in sports, it’s time for an empathetic and rich person (and/or company that needs tax write-offs) to step up and initiate sports competitions solely for transgenders.  Like others, true athletes want playing fields that are even, receiving awards and scholarships based on merit and not just physical size and strength.

Another participant shouted that the ACLU is “evil.”  The ACLU would defend her right to say that about its organization.

Gender is who you are.  It is the internal feeling of being a man, woman, or someone outside of this traditional understanding.  Transgender individuals feel that who they are on the inside does not match their assigned biological gender on the outside.  Our understanding of being transgender has evolved — we know better — although this condition has been documented back to 5,000 BC.  If given a chance, I am sure that the upcoming generation of caring and thinking adults would figure out how to handle all of this with grace, dignity, and kindness.

Breathe, all ... especially if you are wearing someone else’s shoes.

Davelyn Miyashiro


No trouble fitting in


June 2023 will be one year since moving to the Carson Valley. I was raised and have lived in three other countries prior to moving to a big city here in the United States. In my 20s and 30s I loved the hustle and bustle, the opportunities for education, employment, the social life and the ease of flights. Three years ago a friend introduced us to the area, having grown up nearby, and my husband instantly felt at home and persuaded me to move before retirement. He had spent 43 years in the same foreign city. I was worried about fitting in and being accepted and knew this would take some time. Time for people to get to know us and trust us before letting us into this community. I was pleasantly surprised to learn I was very wrong. We joined a gym and people came up to us and introduced themselves and shortly after invited us places, introduced us to their families and let us into their homes and lives. I kept thinking “don’t they already have enough friends? Why invest time in us?” I guess they are the only ones that can answer that, but I am extremely grateful and humbled to be the recipient of such kindness, particularly when so many grew up here and have established networks already. I came in conscious of the negative feelings of some who do not want growth and remind myself to observe and be thoughtfully aware of what others want and need instead of jumping in with my outsider opinions. I’m slowly getting a sense of what makes this community tick and learning about the regular events organized by locals and local businesses. Events to benefit, support and empower locals. As a psychotherapist I’ve seen teens who are over-whelmed about how to save the environment and (insert other hot social media topic) and I tell them to start local; who needs support in their own household, their street, their community first? I start with “who” rather than “what” because it starts with the person. And I have seen an astonishing amount of good-hearted and honest people who don’t hesitate to offer their time, expertise and friendship to even a stranger like me. Thank you towns of Genoa, Minden and Gardnerville and especially to all those at Pulse Fitness.

Theresa J. Tuton


Take the time


Every hour of every day just when you think the news cannot get any worse and then it often does. We went through a pandemic, our borders have morphed into a line on a map unable to prevent any sense of restriction; politicians can stare into a camera and receipt fiction with the sincerest of expressions; the cost of living is for even the most basic of a family’s needs keeps increasing and so many problems in our educational institution.

However, I found there is a wonderful way to take a break. Last night I was lucky to get invited by some friends to attend a little league baseball game at Aspen Park. Seeing players from three feet tall and up that had all the moves of the MLB players — sort of, made for a wonderful diversion. 

Aspen Park like all the County Parks is a great place to forget the heaviness of the day and enjoy watching families just being families.  Thank you so very much to Scott Morgan and his team for maintaining the parks. Now go out and enjoy the ballgames, the spring weather and just relax from the world.

Bobbi Thompson


Volunteers make AYSO work


As we are passing our midway point through our Spring 2023 AYSO soccer season, I want to express my sincere gratitude to all the volunteers who make our season possible. 

Carson Valley AYSO Region 318 has 290 participants this season, a 40 percent increase over the previous spring season, which means an incremental increase of volunteers to make the season run.  We currently have 10 board members to help coordinate the season, but with 32 teams, it takes at least 32 coaches, multiple assistant coaches, referees, team parents, and youth volun-teers to make it all happen.  From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for volunteering your time to enrich children’s lives.

Our region has been making improvements each season with new field equipment including goals and flags.  Our biggest improvement this season has been in our new robot to line fields. Previous seasons would mean two full days to measure, stake, string, and then finally paint fields.  Because we are run solely by volunteers and we want to reduce volunteer stress, Marvin (our new field lining robot) is capable of lining all our fields in two hours.  It also allows us to be able to optimize our field configuration on a tablet before we even start lining.

I also want to thank Belinda Grant and her photography team for always providing wonderful pic-tures of our valley children.

Additionally, I want to say thank you to Douglas County School District and specifically Gardner-ville Elementary School for allowing us to play on their fields this season.

I also want to thank Summit Plumbing for providing us with clean restroom facilities throughout our season.

We are looking to expand our competitive soccer program in the future for the older divisions, but need committed volunteers to coach those children as they progress.  Please reach out if you are interested in making a more competitive league.  We are also looking for volunteers to help run our fundraising program that we will be implementing this coming fall.  

Thank you to the community for supporting our local AYSO Region 318.  We appreciate your commitment to the youth in our community. 

Our Fall 2023 soccer season registration is already open.  Please go to www.cvayso.org to sign up to play.  It’s open to children from 3-13 years old.  Remember to sign up to volunteer when you sign up your child.  Fall registration will close on July 10, so please sign up early.

Tami Anderson

Regional Commissioner

Carson Valley AYSO Region 318


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