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Three seek Genoa town seats

by Christy Chalmers

The drought of candidates for Genoa’s two empty town board seats has ended.

Three people, including the former town manager, who resigned in July citing personal attacks and criticism from some of the board members, have applied for the positions. The Douglas County Commission may appoint two of the hopefuls Thursday.

The ex-manager, Ann Marie Evans, is joined by Steven Hollister and William Donohoe.

The two seats have been open since July, when Kara Hayes and Lou Schaffer followed Evans and another town worker out of Genoa politics. After two months of recruiting yielded only Donohoe’s application, the search for replacements was suspended. Some suggested Genoa’s board should be cut back to three members. Others said stipends or some other form of compensation might draw more candidates.

County leaders said the Genoa town board should make a recommendation on whether three members would be preferable to five, but the town board hasn’t suggested a reduction.

A new county search yielded an application from Hollister, a mechanical designer, in September. Evans, a restaurant owner, submitted hers in October. They join Donohoe, an investor, whose application has been on file since he submitted it Aug. 30.

All of the applicants cited an interest in improving and protecting Genoa. Donohoe said he’s lived in the town 24 years, and believes his business experience gives him insight into town issues.

Hollister, who has lived in Douglas County for 49 years, said in his application several Genoa residents encouraged him to seek a town board appointment. He cites his understanding of civil and basic engineering as an asset to improving Genoa, and lists participation in the town’s annual Candy Dance, membership in the Genoa Volunteer Fire Department, assistance plowing the town’s streets and advising on drainage and street improvements among his previous community service.

“It is my desire to try and get the necessary things done to improve the town’s image and to represent the residents of Genoa as they should be represented,” he wrote.

Evans, who with 12 years residency in Douglas County is the newcomer of the group, cited her five years managing the town office and 10 years of volunteering with town events.

She formerly headed the Genoa Historical Commission and has training in disaster management and other civic-related programs. Two Genoa residents who wrote letters supporting Evans cited her experience, with one calling Evans “The only one capable of organizing the Candy Dance in the Year 2000.”

When she resigned in July, Evans predicted she would eventually reenter the public service arena, but she wanted time off to readjust to private life. Her departure was triggered by what she described as continual public criticism and personal attacks by some of the town board members. She was also frustrated when her requests for assistance organizing the Candy Dance were unheeded. The Candy Dance is an annual festival and candy sale that generates most of the town’s operating money.

“Although I resigned my employment I still love and care what happens to my community and will always stay active in its well being,” Evans wrote in her application.

The county commission is scheduled to consider the applications during its meeting Thursday. The board meets at 1 p.m. in the old courthouse, 1616 Eighth St., Minden.