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Highlights of Feb. 28 county commission meeting



The Washoe County Commission held its regularly scheduled meeting today and took action on items including the recognition of former Finance Director John Sherman and Assistant County Manager David Childs, the appointment of the new director for the Community Services Department and an acting director for Community Development, the acceptance of several grants and donations, and the re-allocation of the county’s share of HOME Consortium grant funding back to the regional pool of HOME funds.

Resolutions of Appreciation. Commissioners recognized the efforts and accomplishments of retiring Finance Director John Sherman and departing Assistant County Manager David Childs.

Sherman, who has been with the county for 23 years (of which 14 years were as finance director), was instrumental in many of the major strategic projects implemented by the county in the past decade, such as the enterprise funding of development services, the on-time and on-budget implementation of the county’s financial information system and winning the Cashman Good Government Award in 2011 for the county’s financial modeling system. Sherman’s leadership and innovation resulted in the recent upgrade of the county’s bond rating.

Childs, who has accepted a position as the city manager for Palmdale, Calif., has been one of two assistant county managers with the county for the past five years. Childs oversaw the departments of Community Development, Public Works, Water Resources, Building and Safety, and Regional Parks and Open Space, as well as being the county’s primary staff coordinator for shared services efforts with other local government entities in the region. Childs brought a wealth of public service knowledge and experience to the county through his experience as city manager for cities such as Minnetonka, Minnesota and South Lake Tahoe, and as a president and leader for the International City/County Management Association. Mr. Childs’ assistant county manager position will not be replaced in the foreseeable future.

Department and Board Appointments. Commissioners appointed Water Resources Director Rosemary Menard to oversee the newly-authorized Community Services Department, which will consolidate the departments of Community Development, Public Works, Water Resources, Building and Safety, and Regional Parks and Open Space, based on functional similarities, into a single “super agency.” The appointment comes with no pay adjustment for Menard.

The commission also appointed Bill Whitney, a senior planner with Community Development, as acting director of community development, which is required by code during the department’s transition into the Community Services Department. While the vacant director position was eliminated, Washoe County Code requires a director to perform multiple functions within the department. Whitney will receive a temporary 10 percent pay adjustment for the additional responsibilities.

Commissioners additionally took action to appoint Washoe County Planning Commissioner Vaughn Hartung to the Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Commission to fill an unexpired term commencing on Feb. 29, 2012, and expiring on June 30, 2014., The board deferred filling the appointment to the at-large south of the Truckee River position on the Washoe County Planning Commission for the unexpired term through June 30, 2012, to a later time.

Grants and Donations. The county commission accepted a two-year, $126,954 grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide resources for chronically homeless and disabled families currently in emergency shelters. There is a $8,100 match required of the county.

Additionally, the commission accepted a $4,100 Library Services and Technology Act Grant for “El dia de los ninos/El dia de los libros” (Children’s Day / Book Day). The grant, which has no county match requirement, will be used to purchase multi-cultural materials.

Commissioners also accepted a donation of $500 toward the Washoe County Scholarship Fund. In lieu of gifts, retiring Finance Director John Sherman requested donations be made to the Scholarship Fund. Hobbs, Ong & Associates, Inc. and the PFM Group each donated $250.00 in John Sherman’s name.

HOME Consortium Funding. Each year, agencies participating in the HOME Consortium, which awards grants to qualifying housing projects, are able to self-direct their portion of the total funding to projects of their choosing. Since 2008, Washoe County has consistently chosen not to self-direct their portion of the funding, and instead allow the funds to be awarded in a more regional context through the Consortium’s Technical Review Committee and the Regional Planning Governing Board. The funds being returned to the region from Washoe County this year totaled $225,000.

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