One city manager finalist stands out
April 16, 2003
Heading into interviews Thursday by Carson City supervisors with candidates for the job of city manager, it seems one of the three finalists stands above the others.
That would be Linda Ritter, currently the city manager of Elko.
She has the requisite experience, including a considerable amount of financial experience as an administrative assistant in charge of the Elko County budget and, later, chief financial officer for the county.
Ritter, 44, also has on her resume six years as assistant county manager and the past five years as Elko city manager.
She has dealt with economic hardships in Elko, including declining sales-tax revenues and the necessary belt-tightening in City Hall that resulted. Her experience in regional cooperation and local business development also seem well suited to Carson City.
Her track record, however, isn’t what makes her stand out from the other two finalists, Jim Palenick and David Fraser, both of whom also appear to possess the basic qualifications for the position.
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Ritter’s key advantage is her Nevada connection. She grew up in Reno and graduated in 1980 from the University of Nevada, Reno. She has been involved in statewide issues for several years, including the Governor’s Task Force on Tax Policy.
We’re not saying some out-of-state perspective wouldn’t help Carson City — Palenick works in Michigan, Fraser in Kansas — but Ritter’s familiarity with Carson City and Nevada would give her a big head-start.
We also have a serious reservation about each of the other two finalists.
Palenick’s stint in Bay City, Mich., which resulted in his firing there last August, created some deep-felt animosity in that town. His critics have not been shy about expressing their displeasure with some of his actions.
In Fraser’s case, the question is his readiness to go from administrator of small towns — his experience is in places one-tenth the size of Carson City — to running the state capital.
There’s no need to dwell on negatives, however. (After all, city managers can hardly do their job without making someone angry, and they do have to get experience somewhere.) The positive side is that, in Ritter, Carson City supervisors have a finalist who seems to possess the skills, background and knowledge they need.