Youth treatment center pushes ahead without a boss

SILVER SPRINGS - Even without an administrator, officials in five counties press ahead to open the Western Nevada Regional Youth Center by April.

In the wake of firing administrator Steve Mathews two weeks ago, the center's operations committee this week committed to moving forward with furnishing the youth drug treatment center and writing policies and procedures while seeking a new administrator.

"We're trying to jump-start this as fast as we can," said Steve Snyder, chairman of the operations committee and Lyon County manager. "We want to get the center turnkey for the new administrator."

The youth center structure has stood mostly finished since October but still has no phone and essentially no furniture.

"We have three tables and probably 12 chairs, but they're going back to Silver Springs Elementary School," said Stephen Grund, chief juvenile probation officer in Churchill County.

Grund, a member of the operations committee, has taken on administrative duties until a full-time administrator is hired. Officials initially intended to hire an interim administrator but instead tapped Grund, who opened and was superintendent of a youth detention and treatment center in Kent, Ohio.

"We would hope to have the majority of furniture by March 1," Grund said.

Grund today plans to order some tables from Silver State Industries, the prison work program at Northern Nevada Correctional Center in Carson City.

The hope is to open the 29-bed youth treatment center in Silver Springs in April. The Mathews firing because of driving under the influence set back the opening for about two months.

The Western Nevada Regional Youth Center is a joint operation involving Carson City, Lyon, Churchill, Douglas and Storey counties. The city and county managers and juvenile probations officers in the five counties serve as the center's operations committee. Three judges from the three judicial districts in these counties are the oversight committee ultimately responsible for hiring the new administrator.

The hiring process for a new administrator started from scratch this week as the opening was advertised in newspapers in the five counties. The job opening also was listed in all the city and county juvenile probation offices in Nevada, at some youth facilities in California and in Jobs Available, the job publication for public sector openings.

The closing date for applications is Jan. 28.

Grund said he and the other juvenile probations officer and Lyon County Controller Rita Evasovic will go through the applications Feb. 1 and decide how many applicants to interview. This team will present its top three candidates to the operations committee.

The operations committee then would pick its candidate and ask the judges for approval.

The youth center will have 16 employees. None has been hired, though the operations committee has three finalists identified for the management assistant slot.

The committee will accept application through February for the counselor positions and for a cook. The new administrator will hire the staff from the pool of pre-screened applicants, Snyder said.


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