County Manager Recruitment Plan 5/21/19

5/21/19  Board of County Commissioners (BCC) Meeting, agenda item 16

Present: Hartung, Jung, Herman, Berkbigler, Lucey (by phone)

Washoe HR Director, Patricia Hurley, gave a presentation about the search for a new county manager.  There were 17 applicants, 11 of which possessed the minimum qualifications.

Approaches to take regarding the selection from here.:

  1. Interview all 11 candidates at an open meeting.
  2. Review all applications and select the top candidates for interview
  3. HR can re-open the application process and recruit more candidates
  4. An assessment panel could be used to narrow down the list of candidates.
  5. HR could contract an executive search firm to do the recruitment.


There was an extended discussion of whether the BCC should select from the candidates who have applied or to use an executive recruiting firm to find additional candidates from a national search.  The county attorney (Lipparelli) pointed out that the agenda item allowed them only to give instructions to staff regarding the selection process.  If the BCC wanted to select the recruiting firm, that would be outside the scope of the current agenda and would require a new agenda item at a later meeting.  Commissioners made the following points.


  • We left the application open much longer before and we had triple the number of applicants.


  • We had 50 apply last time, but the list of qualified applicants was 11.
  • She’s more comfortable using an executive search recruiter, but not the one used previously.
  • We should get someone with a masters in public administration.  The county is too big to have someone who needs to learn on the job.


  • This is a critical appointment, and it shouldn’t be rushed.  The residents deserve the best candidate we can get.


  • If we are going to open this back up, we should conduct a national search rather than just posting it for local people.
  • It’s very important to get someone who has worked in government before.
  • I’m not convinced we can’t move forward with the 11 candidates identified.


  • “We should move forward with a national search and re-open the application process.” “I don’t feel we need to re-open the process, but if we do, a national search firm should be employed. “
  • I think experience is more important than having a masters degree in public policy.
  • We need someone active in the community to show that they can work with the city governments of Reno and Sparks.
  • I’m fine moving forward with the 11 candidates.

Manager Slaughter

  • Last time, we considered three search firms.  The selection was made by the outgoing county manager.

HR Staff

  • We used Ralph Anderson for recruiting for the county manager and the chief information officer.  We have other firms we have used for other positions.

Public Comment

  • We need someone who is more interactive with the public and aware of safety concerns.  It’s time for a change.  We shouldn’t limit ourselves to candidates from Nevada.

Commissioners agree to have staff engage a national recruiting firm to find additional candidates.  There was no vote: it was just instructions to staff.

 Staff Report – County Manager Interview Process Update

Note: the county manager serves at the pleasure of the BCC.  Even the most professional and ethical candidate will likely need to follow the lead of the commissioners in favoring the developers.

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