Five city manager hopefuls remain

The pool of seven candidates recommended for Carson City’s open city manager post dwindled to five, but two of them are still local, the woman spearheading the search reported Thursday.

Heather Renschler of Ralph Andersen & Associates, a Northern California headhunting firm, told the city’s Board of Supervisors Brig. Gen. Curt Rauhut of San Antonio, who retires from the Army this summer, had found another opportunity. She said David Johnston, the city manager of Maple Valley, Wash., had withdrawn his name.

That leaves locals Jeffrey Fontaine, executive director of the Nevada Association of Counties, and city Fire Chief Stacey Giomi, along with three from elsewhere. They are Timothy Hacker, former city manager of North Las Vegas; Nicholas Marano of Marano and Associates, a former Marine colonel from Carlsbad, Calif.; and James Nichols, assistant city manager in Midland, Texas, who formerly worked in municipal governments in Southern Nevada.

Renschler outlined for the board and public the process going forward, which she said should end in early May with a selection and negotiations to hire the person chosen.

“It’s a robust process,” she said, noting a need for flexibility might arise at the end. “I may ask you to select a back up candidate as well.” She indicated that is just in case negotiations with the favored candidate fall through or something else intervenes.

Renschler said she also would like to shepherd additional background checks as the process nears the end. She asked that anything board members find and want vetted should go through and be checked by her. She added she would provide information on backgrounds that include criminal checks or pending actions in that regard.

“I would like to have you use me as your point person,” she said. Renschler already did some checks in her function as the person taking applications, which totaled 79 but soon dropped to 70 as nine people dropped out early. She then culled them for the qualified and those matching her standards and board preferences, collected in individual interviews with the mayor and supervisors. That led to her list of seven recommendations, which was released last week.

Now that it is just five, the process becomes more manageable with the next step a public reception. Anyone interested in meeting the candidates can from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 31. It will be at the Plaza Conference Center, which is behind the Plaza Hotel at 801 S. Carson St.

That will be followed the next day by a day of interviews conducted by an 11-member advisory panel at the Community Center’s Sierra Room.

The open session that day begins at 9 a.m. On the panel, selected by Renschler by lot or with input from the board, are:

Chairman Alan Glover, the city clerk-recorder; Mike Dzyak, citizen at large; Nick Providenti, city finance director; Ken Sandage, representative of the Sheriff’s Department Supervisory Association; Maxine Cortes, city court administrator; Sheena Shrum, executive officer of the Builders Association of Western Nevada; Richard Stokes, city school superintendent; Ronni Hannaman, city Chamber of Commerce executive director; Joel Dunn, executive director at the Convention and Visitors Bureau; Chet Burton, Western Nevada College interim president; and Chris Bayer of Carson City’s Arts Coalition.

The advisory panel will provide input for board members, but the decision is left to the board.

The process next moves to an April 17 regular board meeting at which members either affirms the five or trim that group to a smaller set of finalists. Two weeks later, again at a normal meeting on May 1, the board will meet with each of the five or the remaining candidates for 15 minutes each. The board’s formal interviews will follow on Friday, May 2.

That session on the first Friday in May begins at 8:30 a.m., the same time as regular board meetings, with a decision expected afterward and negotiations in coming days.

Supervisor John McKenna, as he heard the process, offered thanks to Renschler for her work on it.

“Thank you for making this a legal process, along with an open process,” he said. Throughout, the board, Renschler and others in city government have tried to work within the confines of Nevada’s open-meeting law.


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