Up to $180K set for next city manager | NevadaAppeal.com

Up to $180K set for next city manager

John Barrette

A salary range of $140,000 to $180,000 a year will be part of the lure for prospective candidates to become Carson City’s next city manager.

The Board of Supervisors set that range Thursday, but signaled it could go higher if super-manager comes calling. The board reserved the right to pay more based on qualifications, salary history and other factors. Heather Renschler of the Northern California search firm retained by the city said she could work with that as a guideline.

“I do believe you will get interest in that range,” said the president and CEO of Ralph Andersen & Associates.

Renschler outlined her headhunting plans, showing the board and obtaining members’ approval for a brochure that will help in the process. In addition to adding the range and soft-salary-ceiling language, board members tweaked it by saying they also reserve the right to require the next manager to live in the city. Supervisor Jim Shirk pushed for that language.

The eventual hire will replace Larry Werner, who retired in December after almost six years. He was making just under the low end of the new salary range. He worked for the city but lived in Douglas County when he replaced Linda Ritter, and was allowed to remain there. Deputy City Manager Marena Works is at the interim helm until a replacement is found.

The headhunter’s timeline included taking applications through Feb. 21 and an update to the board Feb. 20, with an expected end to taking applications the next day. Renschler added that if the pool isn’t sufficiently robust, the deadline for applications could be extended from that third Thursday in February to lure additional candidates over two more weeks.

“I will tell you I have received some calls from potential candidates,” she said, adding that they were awaiting Thursday salary-range decision.

The board also approved a panel of city stakeholders to interview candidates as the winnowing process moves forward. Renschler said those invited who accept would ask predetermined questions and give the board feedback, but they will have no final say in the selection. There also could be a community meet-and-greet event during the screening period, she said.

The board would conduct final interviews and make the selection after those various steps are completed.

Those invited to participate on the stakeholders panel, which could require two days of vetting or one depending on the panel and candidate pool size, would come from key groups in and around the community.

They could include, Renschler said, top leaders from the Arts & Culture Coalition; Board of Realtors; Builders Association of Western Nevada; Carson City School District; Convention & Visitors Bureau; Carson Tahoe hospital; the Chamber of Commerce; the city’s court system; Northern Nevada Development Authority; Western Nevada College; the cities of Reno and/or Sparks; the counties of Douglas, Lyon, Storey and/or Washoe; an appointed city department director; an elected city official, which will be Clerk/Recorder Alan Glover; a city employees’ union/association representative, and a member of the public at large selected by lottery.

People interested in that public at-large spot may send in names to the city Human Resources Department.

Human Resources Director Melanie Bruketta, who also is involved in the selection process, recommended that the board include performance-based pay-enhancement possibilities for the city manager and other city employees, a suggestion that drew no objections and a positive comment from Supervisor Brad Bonkowski during the city manager search discussion.

The board for now, however, sidestepped putting any city employee compensation philosophy on the record after hearing an extensive compensation study report from Pete Ronza, president of Pontifex Consulting Group. The 81-page study said city pay is roughly at public-sector market rate in the region if it is plus or minus 10 percent of competitive salaries.

A cursory check of average base salaries in it showed the city had about 20 exceeding 10 percent on the high side, more than 70 trailing it on the low side, and some 40 in the market competitive area.

The study will be reviewed by board members and Bruketta, who will return to the board later for action.