Update: Commissioners meeting cancelled
Update: The discussion on how to proceed with the county manager search was delayed on Thursday.
There’s a chance that the interim could be removed from Jenifer Davidson’s title at today’s Douglas County commission meeting.
Under the Thursday agenda, commissioners could decide to enter contract negotiations with Davidson to take over the county’s top spot.
Commissioners may also decide to hire a search firm to help human resources recruit a new county manager, which is the course they were on before Davidson told them she planned to apply for the job.
Last month, four county commissioners expressed their support for Davidson having the position. Only three are required to approve the position.
County Commissioner Dave Nelson was not one of them, saying Davidson should be considered as part of a field of candidates.
In an email to The Record-Courier, Nelson’s wife Jeanne Shizuru said Davidson’s father purchased tires from County Motor Pool Manager Chris Oakden.
Nelson filed a report with the Nevada Division of Investigation, which is in charge of the Tiregate investigation.
Neither Nelson nor Shizuru claimed that Davidson purchased tires from Oakden. Nelson said Davidson disclosed the information about her father to the county commissioners.
Davidson said her father worked with Oakden for eight years until 2011.
She said that when she was hired as assistant county manager she disclosed the relationship and that her father purchased three sets of tires from Oakden.
“I assumed that because my father was a former employee of Douglas County who had formerly worked in the same department as Chris Oakden for eight years that he would be investigated, as would all current and prior employees who worked with Mr. Oakden,” Davidson said.
She said she told Nelson and the rest of the commission about her father’s tire purchase.
After she’d announced she would be seeking the county manager’s position, Davidson said Nelson asked if her father had reimbursed the county for the tires.
“I called my father and asked if he had ever been contacted as part of the investigation,” she said.
After telling her he hadn’t, Davidson contacted Nelson and told him. She said she then made an effort to contact the state investigator herself to alert them. Her father was interviewed by the Nevada Division of Investigation.
“I hope that I have demonstrated through my actions in this instance that I made no attempt to hide this information, and that I was honest and truthful during this time,” she said.
Nelson’s wife, Jeanne Shizuru has a letter appearing in Thursday’s edition of The Record-Courier.
Davidson’s entire statement will appear online with Thursday’s story.
A key Davidson supporter, county commissioner Steve Thaler was defeated by John Engels in the primary.
When Davidson first announced her plan to apply for the job, Engels was enthusiastically in favor. He declined comment on Tuesday.
Commissioners meet 10 a.m. in the Carson Valley Inn Ballroom in Minden. They are scheduled to go to lunch at noon. The meeting will not be live streamed.
The county manager search is the last item on the agenda and might not be heard until after 4 p.m.
Douglas County has been without a full-time manager since Larry Werner retired on Aug. 31.
Werner, who is also retired Carson City manager, was on contract with the county.
It was during Werner’s tenure that the Tiregate thefts were uncovered.
Oakden ran the county motorpool for a decade, selling tires he’d purchased with county money.
Estimates are that more than $1 million in tires alone rolled out the door under his watch.
Just after the thefts were uncovered in spring 2017, Oakden was killed in a head-on collision with a truck.
The internal investigation into the thefts was conducted by the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office. That investigation resulted in three county employees losing their jobs.
Because the criminal and internal investigations must be kept separate, Jackson turned the criminal investigation over to the state.
That probe is still underway 18 months later.