County may name county manager on Thursday

Patrick Cates

Patrick Cates

In his final week as Douglas County manager, Patrick Cates will receive a proclamation on Thursday and perhaps find out who will take the reins after he’s gone.

Commissioners voted 3-2 on May 4 to keep the search for Cates’ replacement in-house. Commissioners Walt Nowosad and Danny Tarkanian were in opposition.

Assistant County Manager Jenifer Davidson and Chief Financial Officer Terri Willoughby are the only two internal candidates for the position.

According to the job description the salary range for the position is $196,497-$274,872. The county manager is the commissions’ sole employee.

On Thursday, county commissioners could vote to approve one of them, or choose to expand a search.

There wasn’t any appetite for hiring a search firm at the May 4 meeting, which could cost $100,000 and increase the time before a candidate could be selected.

Should commissioners decide to reject the internal candidates, opening a recruitment would take 8-12 weeks to review applications before candidates could be interviewed, according to interim Human Resources Manager Christine Vido.

It took the county nine months to hire Cates after Larry Werner, who was serving under a contract, gave his two-month notice in June 2018 that he would be retiring Aug. 31.

An attempt to open up the job to anyone interested resulted in a recommendation that the process start over in August 2018. After four months of wrangling, county commissioners settled on Genoa resident Tom Stone in January 2019, who quit after a week.

It would be two more months before the commission settled on Cates, despite significant political pressure to select former Nevada Controller Ron Knecht.

Knecht indicated a desire to apply for the position when Cates announced his retirement in March.

A dozen people have either been county manager or served in the interim over the past 45 years since Bob Hadfield was first appointed to the newly formed job in 1978.

Hadfield served for seven years before resigning to become executive director of the Nevada Association of Counties.


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