City supervisors name four as finalists for city manager |

City supervisors name four as finalists for city manager

Jill Keller, Appeal Staff Writer

A government consultant from Michigan and the city managers of Elko, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., and Beloit, Kan., are the top candidates for Carson City manager’s position, supervisors decided Thursday.

The four finalists have been invited back to be interviewed beginning at 1 p.m. April 17 by city supervisors. A selection to the appointed position is expected following the interviews.

“I’m very, very pleased about the opportunity and look forward to it,” said James Palenick, of Bay City, Mich., who spent last weekend in Carson with his wife, Suzanne.

Palenick and candidate Linda Ritter, city manager and chief financial officer of Elko, were ranked first and second by panelists who interviewed seven applicants Saturday. The two were recommended far ahead of the pack.

“The two top candidates emerged clearly,” said Ann Beck, the city’s human resources director.

Beck recommended four finalists to the board — third-ranked candidate David Fraser and fourth-ranked Robert Hunt of Incline Village, operator of a student travel organization.

The board voted to invite Palenick, Ritter and Fraser. However, supervisors Shelly Aldean and Richard Staub, who voted against the recommendation, pushed the board to also invite candidate Bruce Williams, city manager of Lake Havasu City.

The two supervisors said they received several calls from panelists who argued strongly that Williams should be included.

Williams was ranked third overall by city and community panelists, but the human resources department did not include him in its list of the top four because a majority of members on the city staff panel said he was “not a good fit at this time.”

Staub said he didn’t agree with the decision to not include Williams on that basis and believed he had strong experience.

“I just don’t think he should be eliminated because somehow people didn’t like him as an individual or he didn’t shake their hand right,” Staub said.

Supervisors plan to hold an informal lunch with the candidates and their spouses before final interviews to get a feel for how they relate informally with others, they said.

District Attorney Mark Forsberg said he was concerned the lunch would not comply with state open meeting laws and will report back to supervisors before the meeting.

After hearing from the city about its selection Thursday, candidates said they were pleased. Fraser, 36, and his wife, Anna, plan to make the trip. The two have four children, Riley, 12, Jayson, 7, Tommy, 6, and Benjamin, 2.

“We’re just thrilled,” said Fraser, city administrator of Beloit, Kan. “We think Carson City is such a great place. We’re really hopeful we’ll be selected and get to move there.”

Williams, a former combat Marine who has spent the past 20 years in city government, said Carson reminded him of growing up in the mountains. He and his wife used to vacation in the area every spring when they lived in Oregon. He said he is looking at the opportunity as the second step of the process.

“It’s nothing to get excited about yet,” Williams said.

Development Services Director Andy Burnham has been acting manager since John Berkich left the post at the end of January.


What: Carson City manager selection

When: 1 p.m. April 17

Where: Sierra Room of the Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.


Stay tuned to Carson Access Television Channel 26 for replays of the candidates’ interviews. Interviews are scheduled to air at:

8 p.m. today

8 a.m. Saturday

6:30 p.m. Sunday

8 a.m. Monday

1 p.m. Tuesday

7:30 p.m. Wednesday

4 p.m. Thursday

10 p.m. April 11

8 a.m. April 12