County Manager departure not done deal
There might be an assumption out there that Douglas County commissioners are going to agree with County Manager Jim Nichols’ assessment that it’s time for him to go.
But the reality is commissioners could well vote against the proposal appearing on Thursday’s agenda.
We know Commission Chairman Doug Johnson has stated publicly he would like to keep Nichols at his post.
With the time and cost required to hire a new county manager, especially if the county decides to try another nationwide recruitment, would make anyone reluctant to willingly undergo the experience.
Nichols has a three-year contract with the county that doesn’t expire until 2017, and has an automatic two-year extension.
He is an at-will employee, and the six-month severance comes into play if commissioners decide to terminate the contract without cause.
If Nichols resigned, he would not be eligible for the severance package. The same would be true if he were terminated for cause.
Since neither commissioners, nor Nichols has provided written notice as required under the contract, it’s entirely possible that commissioners on Thursday will do a reverse no-confidence vote, encouraging Nichols to stay.
Besides being somewhat awkward, it would take a heck of a manager to maintain county workers’ and the public’s trust after an overt attempt to leave.
Until commissioners approve Nichols’ separation agreement, it’s pretty much academic what the next step will be.