Nevada Association of Counties director lauded
RENO – The executive director for the Nevada Association of Counties has been honored for nearly 20 years of service to the state’s rural counties.
Bob Hadfield says he’s a cowboy at heart, having helped his father farm in Winnemucca and later working on a ranch in Paradise Valley.
The former Douglas County county manager is known in state and local governments as a straight-shooter.
“He’s very protective of small counties, the people and the state,” said Douglas County Commissioner Bernie Curtis, who has known Hadfield for nearly 30 years. “He’s just formidable.”
Hadfield was honored during the association’s annual conference in Sparks last week.
Given Nevada’s varied landscape, his job would seem nearly impossible to get all of the state’s county commissioners on the same side of an issue.
Nevada counties range in size from booming Clark County and its 1.6 million people; the populated Highway 395 corridor, where 480,000 people live in Washoe, Carson and Douglas counties; to the “cow counties.”
Of Nevada’s 17 counties, six have no more than 5,000 people: Esmeralda, Eureka, Lander, Lincoln, Mineral and Storey counties. White Pine and Pershing counties have less than 9,000.
Hadfield said the association lobbies on an issue only when its board of commissioners can reach consensus.
“We serve everybody,” he said.
He said an agreement approved last week by Congress involving eastern Nevada is a good example of the importance of communication. As a result of talks among county commissioners, Clark County can seek approval for tapping ground water in Lincoln County.
In exchange, Lincoln will gain 90,000 acres of federal land for private development, and 768,000 acres will be set aside as wilderness.
“We got everybody together,” Hadfield said. “You have got to get the emotion out of the issue. After that, you can discuss the basic issues.”
Hadfield is stepping down from the executive director’s position, and will be replaced by Andrew List, who has worked at the association for four years.
“I’ve always told him these are some of the best people you will ever meet,” Hadfield said. “You just have to be blunt with them.”
A native of Lovelock, List holds a public policy degree from Stanford University and a law degree from the University of Oregon.