Utility administrator files for District 4 commission seat | NevadaAppeal.com
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Utility administrator files for District 4 commission seat

Susie Vasquez
Nevada Appeal News Service

CAVE ROCK – The administrator of the Tahoe-Douglas Utility District will seek to replace Genoan Tim Smith on the Douglas County Board of Commissioners.

Republican Janet Murphy said she will not be taking any contributions during this campaign to avoid any special interest groups.

“I’ve been successful working in government and with the public,” she said. “If I win, this will be an interesting challenge. I want to be the people’s commissioner.”

Smith, elected four years ago to represent the Tahoe district 4 seat of Douglas County including the Genoa area, will not seek a second term.

Speaking from her office in Cave Rock overlooking Lake Tahoe, Murphy, 44, is animated and frank when it comes to the issues, including growth in Douglas County.

Economic, not residential, development will bring revenues to the county, she said.

“Growth has to be balanced,” she said. “Economic growth brings jobs and money but doesn’t drain services like police and fire protection.

“I once did a tour of rural Nevada and in every county, officials said economic development was the issue,” she said. “Douglas County is in a much better position than most counties to get that economic diversity.”

Managing growth in the Tahoe area is not really an issue for a Douglas commissioner. All development is regulated by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. If elected, however, Murphy would be given a seat on the agency’s governing board.

Murphy said she also sees water as a dwindling resource that will be critical to any development here. She knows people on both sides of the growth debate and her background as an arbitrator has led her to feel connected to both.

This is the second time Murphy has sought election to the commission. In 1998, she ran as an independent against then-commissioner Don Miner and came within 2,954 votes of winning.

In addition to her job with the Tahoe-Douglas Utility District, Murphy works as an arbitrator in construction issues.

“If the right trusses aren’t used and the roof caves in, the owner and builder go to arbitration,” she said. “The arbitrator listens to everything and makes a decision based on the facts.”

Murphy became an administrator for the Tahoe-Douglas Utility District 14 years ago. In that time, she said she has balanced the budget, reined in costs and kept utility fees down. The district skirts Lake Tahoe from Round Hill past Glenbrook to Slaughterhouse.

“I know about water, utilities and growth,” she said.

She also served on the State’s Tax Advisory Committee for 12 years, which included providing extensive tax analysis on revenues for legislation presented to the governor.

Originally from Castro Valley in the Bay area, Murphy spent her childhood riding horses, participated in rodeo and belonged to the local 4-H club.

An ardent athlete, she was once named athlete of the year at Stanford University, where she majored in mechanical engineering.

She quit school after two years and took a job as an engineering analyst with Peterbilt in Newark, Calif.

When Peterbilt closed its Newark plant five years later, she worked in claims with the California State Automobile Association. She transferred to Carson City with that company before accepting her current position.

Husband Michael is a water purveyor for Incline Village, and together they have two children. Marci, 22, is majoring in radiology at the University of Nevada and Michaela, 11, is a sixth-grader at Kingsbury Middle School.

The family has lived in Round Hill for 18 years.

Murphy said she is running on the FAD ticket – Fair and Accountable to Douglas County.