County managers are expensive
It has been a long time since Douglas County was able to get a county manager with a base salary of $118,750.
That was Steve Mokrohisky, who had been assistant county manager when T. Michael Brown moved to Oregon, and was 35 years old when he first took the job.
Both the county managers to follow Mokrohisky, Larry Werner and Jim Nichols, had base salaries of $172,000.
That base salary doesn’t actually address the real cost of a county manager, but it does give a handy measurement.
That’s one of the reasons the county’s advertised salary range for the position was $168,000-$235,000.
A visit to Transparent Nevada makes it pretty obvious that county managers are a costly commodity.
Clark County Manager Yolanda King pulled down $260,211 in 2017 in base salary with a total pay and benefits.
Washoe County’s top slot pays $238,490 a year, which was the top end for Douglas County’s position.
Both both those places are complicated with large numbers of employees.
Closer to home, Carson City supervisors approved a $177,683 annual salary for new city manager Nancy Paulson.
While Carson has a slightly larger population than Douglas, it has a centralized population with less of the regional whackamole Douglas often finds itself dealing with.
There are counties where the manager makes closer to the old Mokrohisky days, including Lyon County where Jeff Page received $120,865 last year according to the web site.
The key difference we see is that Page is a longtime Lyon employee who rose through the ranks. A third-generation Nevadan, Page has worked for the county for 33 years and has been county manager for the last eight.
Whomever becomes the next Douglas County manager, their key task must be to find and groom the next county manager.
Only then will we be able to establish some level of continuity, and perhaps gain control over inflating salaries.