Hiring officials is both public and painful

Back on June 1, 2023, Douglas County commissioners offered Jenifer Davidson the county manager’s position.

In order to do that, the agenda item was written as broadly as possible in order to account for the possible whims elected boards sometimes face.

Among the potential actions on that day in June were conducting interviews, selection, extension of an offer or even taking next steps, should none of the possible candidates be viable.

That was not the case last week when school board trustees suddenly offered interim superintendent Jeanne Dwyer the job, which was pretty clearly outside the boundaries of the written agenda.

Putting those agendas together is critical to the process of fair government. The R-C took some heat last fall when we reported on an agenda item that essentially called for a gag order on the superintendent and administration.

We reserve the right to report what’s on the page in these agendas because they are designed to tell people what their elected officials are doing. If something newsworthy shows up on an agenda, we can guarantee you we’re going to report that, because that’s our duty.

The good news about last week’s action is that the Nevada Open Meeting Law allows public bodies to retake an action within the rules.

There was always going to be a follow-up meeting, as there was with the previous superintendent hiring effort, to approve a contract and a variety of other issues.

A superintendent, county manager or an improvement district manager is considered a public official under state law.

Their hiring, reviews and pretty much everything else must be conducted in full view of the citizenry.

Public officials essentially serve in a fishbowl, and as we’ve said many, many times over the years, people love tapping on the glass.

We don’t know whether the school board will follow through on hiring Dwyer. The agenda released on Monday morning says trustees will discuss hiring a search firm, which is what it said last week.

We think most folks would like to see the drama subside for a little bit. Hiring a superintendent would be a good step, especially with the impending elections.


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