County manager ready to serve Douglas
April 11, 2019
Editor's Note: County Manager Patrick Cates wrote this letter to county employees.
I am thrilled to be part of this great organization. This is the opportunity of a lifetime for me and my family. Most of my career has been spent in public service to the State of Nevada. My time as director of the Nevada Department of Administration included responsibilities over a broad scope of State government – fiscal, purchasing, grants, human resources, employee benefits, information technology, public works, buildings and grounds, fleets, risk management, library and archives, hearings, and the Marlette Lake Water System. I also have extensive experience with public bodies such as the Board of Wildlife Commissioners and the Nevada Legislature. I feel well prepared to be the Douglas County manager.
I have spent most of my life in Nevada, including some early years in Douglas County. I have lived in Washoe County for the last 40 years. My wife and I have raised three daughters and two nieces in Northern Nevada. Northern Nevada is our home and we would have it no other way. We are currently planning our move to Douglas County to take up residence in the best county in the best state in the Union.
I know you have all seen a lot of changes in the Douglas County Manager position in recent years. Please know, I am in this for the long haul. I recently celebrated my 50th birthday. I have many years of service left to give. I will faithfully serve the Douglas County Commission and the citizens they represent. I am also here to serve and provide leadership to the employees. I cannot succeed without organizational support.
My goal as Douglas County Manager is simple, to make Douglas County a showcase of excellence in government. I am focused on making the county government efficient and responsive to the needs of our citizens. This can only be achieved by focusing on our organizational culture. We must promote a culture of integrity, accountability and transparency to build trust. We must cultivate a spirit of innovation and empowerment focused on continuous improvement to provide value to the public. "Better, faster, cheaper" should be the mantra that drives our daily actions. We must foster an attitude of competitive teamwork to drive us to achieve ambitious goals. Trust in government seems to be at a low ebb in our culture today. I want Douglas County government to be exceptional in the eyes of the public.
I cannot mention trust in government without addressing the "Tiregate" scandal, as it's been called in the media. I know we would all like to move on from this; but it continues to be a wound for both the citizens and employees of this county. The Nevada Division of Investigation's report was a shocking read and caused the public's trust in their county government to be severely shaken.
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The actions of a few bad apples should not, and does not, reflect on the conduct of the vast majority of us. As County Manager, I will be as transparent and forthcoming as allowed by law. I will work with our elected officials and agency heads to hold accountable anyone engaging in misconduct of any kind. But I will also stand in support of our dedicated, hardworking county employees.
Important steps to address this challenge have already been taken. People have been held accountable. A program for the reporting and investigation of fraud, waste and abuse has been established. A new county policy and a new ordinance were recently approved by the County Commission. These are all extremely important. But no program or policy can be successful without the commitment of each and every one of us.
Public service is a privilege. It is a privilege for us to make a living at the taxpayers' expense. We are entrusted by the public to be good stewards of their money. As good stewards, we must never put personal advantage above the public interest. Keeping the public trust is essential to our success as both individuals and as an organization.
Although I know many of our employees already uphold these values, this is a reminder. I state this to highlight, bold, and underline these values. Along with our outstanding elected officials, I will work tirelessly as long as I am County Manager to ensure these values are in the foremost of our thoughts and actions every day. There is no place in this organization for anyone who would betray these values. I ask for your help to promote them, to encourage co-workers to live by them, and shed light whenever any of us fall short of them. It is through that commitment as an organization that we will restore and keep the public trust.
I am humbled by this opportunity and optimistic for our future.
Patrick Cates is Douglas County manager.