Linda Slater marks 25 years with county |

Linda Slater marks 25 years with county

by Christy Chalmers

Among the elected officials in Douglas County’s original Minden courthouse, Recorder Linda Slater is a new kid on the block.

She’s only been in office since 1995.

“I’ve got them by years, though,” she says, laughing.

Sunday marked 25 years of county employment for Slater, 51, who started in 1975 with what was supposed to be a part-time job in the auditor-recorder’s office. She spent her days running payroll documents through “Herbie,” a giant mainframe computer.

“I never did work part-time,” she said. “Even that first week, I was only supposed to work three days and they asked me if I could work more.”

After the clerk Slater was filling in for returned from maternity leave, Slater handled some auditing work, then returned to recording duties.

“It was then that I realized I was supposed to be on the recording side,” she said. “It really clicked.”

The office has undergone a few changes in 25 years. In addition to moving to the opposite end of the old courthouse, the auditing division has been separated and renamed the comptroller’s office.

The 3-by-5 inch cards that used to hold the recorder’s information have been replaced by computers, as well as an increasing Internet presence that lets customers check on maps, download forms and review other information without making a trip to the old courthouse. Slater eventually hopes to post all of the public records, some of which date back to 1855.

Slater was born in Sacramento, Calif. and grew up near Grass Valley. She has an older brother and sister, and a younger sister.

After graduating from high school in 1966, Slater considered attending college but decided to move to the Lake Tahoe area instead. She knew Lake Tahoe from summer visits growing up, and her older sister was living in the Kingsbury area.

Slater worked at what was then the Sahara Tahoe, now the Horizon, as a waitress, and when she was old enough, as a 21 dealer. She met her husband Randy when she came home one day and found her apartment door ajar. She called the sheriff’s office to report it, and Randy was one of the deputies who responded to take the report.

They were married two years later and moved to Carson Valley. They now live in Gardnerville.

The couple has two sons, Dennis, an investigator with the Douglas sheriff’s office, and Danny, who lives in Washington state.

After seven years of working at the Sahara, Slater had worked her way up to teaching 21 dealers for the casino. But she decided a change of pace was in order, and inquired about the part-time job with the county.

She was promoted to chief deputy recorder in 1976, a title she held until she was elected in 1994. She was unopposed for a second term in 1998.

Slater is very proud of her staff and the innovations she has helped oversee. In 1983, she helped implement Douglas County’s first computerized index, a model that’s still being used and that has been used by other Nevada counties.

In 1988, she led an effort to sort and organize the county’s records.

“It was quite a project,” she recalled. “We found them in cardboard boxes and under stairwells.”

The resulting drive led to a climate-controlled, well-organized, award-winning record storage facility.

The job has had some unique moments. Slater remembers one man who recorded a tribute song to Janis Joplin. Miners who used to make yearly journeys into town to record their claims and conduct other business “were probably our greatest joy,” she said.

One showed up with a pistol on his hip.

“He patted it and said, ‘Yep, it’s real. It’s hot, too,'” she recalled. “We just sort of shrugged. That’s how those guys were.”

Randy Slater retired from the sheriff’s office in 1991 and now sits on the Gardnerville Town Board, but Linda says it’s too early to discuss her plans beyond her current term.

“We’ve had some real good times, and some bumps,” she said. “I’ve really, truly enjoyed working for Douglas County. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”