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Ritter hedges her career bet

Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer

Carson City Manager Linda Ritter, whose job was in jeopardy earlier this week, acknowledged she is interested in becoming Lyon County manager.

“I’m just looking into it,” she said. “You don’t make these decisions lightly.”

Ritter was told Tuesday that she could stay on as Carson’s top manager if she wanted after reportedly being asked to resign by at least one of the members of the Board of Supervisors. Although Ritter has had only positive job reviews in her four years on the job, she has been criticized for her handling of the city’s budget deficit.

Ritter said she called Lyon County officials last week to inquire about the manager position left vacant after supervisors fired Donna Kristaponis in February.

Lyon County is advertising its manager position on its Web site as one that is “open until filled.”

It reads: “If you have extensive professional county or city management experience, have always dreamed of living in northern Nevada, and can show a solid work history in a county or city management position, we want to hear from you!”

Ritter has been with the city for four years and has been involved with local government in Nevada for years, including as city manager of Elko and assistant manager of Elko County.

Lyon would pay the right person a starting salary ranging from $95,344 to $120,434, depending on experience, with employer-paid retirement benefits.

“I love Carson City, I live here,” she said. “But it’s not unusual to look into other opportunities.”

One of Ritter’s former co-workers concurred with this assessment. Being a manager of a city or county is “a very political position,” said Curtis Calder, Elko’s current city manager.

He worked with Ritter for five years and had been the human resources while she managed the city.

“The average lifespan in these types of positions is about five years. It’s a job that’s political in nature and politics are in flux,” Calder said. “She’s well respected statewide. I think it would be a huge loss for Carson City if they lost her.”

Lower-than-expected sales tax revenues have been plaguing Carson City which, in turn, have spurred budget cuts. The city needs to eliminate another $600,000 from its $117.6 million budget during this fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2008.

Ritter makes $120,000 – and receives benefits – annually as Carson’s manager.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.