Split Minden board hires town manager
November 3, 2011
The Minden Town Board voted 3-2 Wednesday to hire China Spring Youth Camp office manager Jenifer Scott as their new town manager.
The decision was reached after more than two hours of debate that included 15-minute presentations from finalists Scott, John Greenhut and Travis Lee, Douglas County senior services and public transportation manager.
Two other finalists, Michael Jarrett and Aaron Palmer, withdrew from the process prior to Wednesday’s meeting.
Scott, 29, is a 17-year resident of Douglas County and a graduate of Douglas High School and Boise State.
She described herself as hardworking, dependable, a skilled project manager and good listener.
“I have a strong work ethic, I’m a self-starter, I strive for excellence. I’m innovative, a problem-solver and I lead by example,” Scott said.
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Scott said she had experience managing office staff, budgets, grants, and had testified at the Nevada Legislature on behalf of the camp for juvenile offenders.
Scott’s candidacy was supported by Minden vice chairman Steve Thaler who hired her as the camp’s office manager.
Thaler urged the board to “scale back the type of person” for the position.
“Do we need an engineer? We have an engineer,” he said. “We don’t need a lawyer. We have some of the best front office staff. We do not need a micromanager. We need someone who has energy and is a good listener.”
Board members Matt Bernard and Charlie Condron favored Greenhut, a Minden resident for six years and retired South Lake Tahoe public works director.
Greenhut was a finalist for the position two years ago, and said he reapplied because “I think I have the perfect fit.”
He previously worked for the California communities of Gilroy, Sunnyvale and Morgan Hill.
Greenhut said he had extensive experience in project management, grant-writing and administration, staff development and handling enterprise funds, reserves and rate-setting.
He described his management style as participatory, but said in an emergency he was capable of making independent decisions.
In acknowledging that he hired Scott at China Spring, Thaler said he wasn’t biased in her favor.
“I believe in giving everybody a fair chance,” he said. “Honestly, I can tell you, she’s a self-starter, a very impressive person who can go that extra mile. I didn’t court her to come in here. She had the courtesy to let me know she was applying. Anyone who thinks I set this up, I want to go on record I didn’t.”
In supporting Greenhut, Condron said the candidate “talked about every one of the issues I wanted to hear about. Water is the big one.”
Roxanne Stangle originally withheld her support from any candidate.
“I said from the first go-round, I am not convinced we need a town manager of this scope,” she said. “I’m not in support of hiring anybody at this point.”
Stangle said she’d heard from a dozen constituents questioning why the town needed a manager, especially at the salary range of $74,246-$99,756 plus benefits, for the community of 3,000 residents.
Chairman John Stephans declined to support any particular candidate, leaving Greenhut with a 2-1 advantage over Scott.
The first two times Thaler made motions to give Scott the job, they died for lack of a second.
Condron’s motion in support of Greenhut failed 3-2.
After a two-minute break, Thaler made another motion in support of Scott which passed 3-2 with Stangle and Stephans adding their support.
Bernard assured Scott that despite the split vote, she would have the support of all board members.
“The minute we make the decision, I’m wholeheartedly behind the person who is the town manager,” Bernard said.
Town counsel George Keele said he would begin working on Scott’s contract on Thursday.
“Go out and do what you know to do best,” Thaler told Scott. “I will tell you if anyone is going to hold you to a higher standard, it’s me. My reputation is on the line. I encourage you to be the good listener you are.”
The vacancy was created with the July resignation of Roger Van Alyne who served as the town’s first manager for 15 months.
Scott was selected from 38 applicants.