County OKs manager contract
January 10, 2019
A contract for new County Manager Tom C. Stone was narrowly approved by county commissioners on Wednesday night.
The board voted 3-2 to approve a contract with the 65-year-old Genoa resident, with commissioners David Nelson and John Engels voting no.
"I'm looking forward to working with all five commissioners and the great staff at Douglas County," Stone said after the meeting. "Seldom in a person's lifetime do they have the opportunity to serve two exceptional counties in two great states. I am truly honored."
Engels, who was sworn in on Monday, sought to have the contract rejected and the county manager search reagendized to re-interview the original candidates.
"I was led to believe that I would be included in the process," Engels said. "I had a lot of questions that I didn't get to ask all the candidates and I had no opportunity. Hence I am not in favor and will not ratify this contract."
Commissioner Wes Rice, who also took office on Monday, said he felt he was included in the process.
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Grand Jury member Perry Hand urged commissioners to have the county manager read the grand jury report.
"We had a pretty serious situation where one person was able to come along and take a lot of money," Hand said. "It turned out to be more than a million dollars. We found a couple of witnesses who were essentially run out by a prior county manager for finding the information and bringing it up."
No one we interviewed had proper training for the job they were in, he said.
Resident Kate Brown suggested commissioners delay the decision.
"This is such an important position, it's important that the new county commissioners have a say for this. Perhaps someone could bring the top three candidates back so the new county commissioners could ask questions," she said.
Commission Chairman Barry Penzel said he remembered when the board selected Jim Nichols.
"I didn't vote for him," Penzel said. "But, I recognize that whoever we vote for has to know that we all will support him. I have been in many organizations where that person wasn't my choice, but I think it is important that we as a front are behind them."
Penzel commented on Stone's demeanor during the public hearing.
"He doesn't get perturbed," Penzel said. "He's sitting here. We're talking about him. He hasn't moved a muscle. If it were me I would be at a high hover. I would be really agitated."
Human Resources Director Wendy Lang said the standard background check consisted of a criminal history, employment verification, driving history and a credit check.
"It is very common for employers not to provide specific details about an employee's performance, discipline and that sort of detail."
Nelson rated State Controller Ron Knecht as his top candidate in December. He voted against Stone at that meeting.
"If you found that the application was not as stated then that would be a reason for not continuing this contract, if employer said no the person was terminated due to expenses that were not approved?" he asked.
One of the top candidates in December has since found work elsewhere.
State Department of Administration Director Patrick Cates was reappointed to his position by new Gov. Steve Sisolak.
Lang said the background check had to wait for the candidate to receive an offer.
"The applicant has to have a reasonable anticipation that he is the candidate, not one of three or one of 20," she said. "There has to be an offer."
Stone has been a real estate broker and salesperson for the past five years, having previously served as deputy director of real estate development for the Nevada Rural Housing Authority.
He also served as Lassen County manager for eight months in 2010. Stone sued the county for wrongful termination. The lawsuit was settled in 2014.
Under the two-year contract, Stone will receive $170,000 a year.