Two more interview for Lyon County manager job
June 7, 2007
YERINGTON – Two more candidates for the Lyon County manager position Thursday made their case before the commissioners.
David Childs, tax assessor and collector for Dallas County, Texas, and Dennis Stark, manager of Charlotte, Mich., a town of about 10,000, were interviewed by a panel of county department heads then commissioners.
Childs emphasized his management skills and style in running a department in his county that had 230 employees, an operating budget of $9.5 million and which was responsible for processing about $3.4 billion in county tax monies.
He was blunt about his lack of experience in planning and water issues.
“I can’t give you a ‘be sure to do this,’ or a ‘be careful not to do that,’ because I have not been involved intimately in planning,” he said. He did say it was important to have an up-to-date master plan that mirrors the community’s desires, and was aware the county was in the middle of doing that.
What he was good at was “herding cats,” he said, or getting divergent people and interests heading down the same path.
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He said he would motivate department heads to do more with less by setting performance standards and offering bonuses to those staff members who met or exceeded the standards.
He said by using technology and motivation, he has reduced staff over 18 years, despite growth in the Dallas area.
Childs got a few laughs from the commissioners when he said he wanted to move to Lyon County because of his “midlife crisis.”
“I’ve been in Dallas for 25 years,” he said. “Been there, done that. I ate in all the restaurants at least three times.”
He made a faux pas, however, by pronouncing the state, Ne VAH da, bringing a correction from Larry McPherson.
“To stay on my good side, it’s Nevada,” he said.
Childs pledged to not only pronounce it right but correct everyone he heard pronouncing it wrong.
Stark stressed his communication skills, honesty and ability to build consensus as his strengths in applying for the job.
He considered himself co-manager of all the city departments of Charlotte, but added he didn’t micromanage.
“I work with department heads to determine needs,” he said.
His budget is about $5 million and he supervises about 75 employees in his job as city manager for Charlotte, Mich., which he said had about 10,000 residents.
He is originally from Colorado, but said it has become too crowded for him and Nevada appealed to him.
“I like the environment out here and the open space,” he said. “The philosophical attitude of the area is drawing me here.”
He also had no background in water and planning issues and pushed for a comprehensive master plan.
He said his management style is hands-on and he stresses communication and ethics in dealing with others.
County Human Resources Director Steve Englert asked the commission as well as the panel of department heads that interviewed Childs and Stark to rate them and the previous four candidates from their top choices down. The top two will be brought back for another interview.
The other candidates that have already been interviewed were Jerry McKnight, of Fallon; Lionel “Lon” Bushey, of Wisconsin; Ron Stock, of Florida; and Jim Park, of Gardnerville.
In the meantime, the commissioners also voted to extend interim county manager Bob Hadfield’s contract by up to 12 months, with two changes. He would only be required to work 32 hours per week and the fee of $8,500 per month will be reduced by 20 percent.
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 882-2111 ext. 351.