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County to Conduct National Search to Replace Retiring Manager



Some applicants have petitioned Washoe County to fill the position being vacated by Manager John Slaughter, although a national search is still scheduled to start next month. The cost for a search firm, which will be selected in early June by county human resources, is expected to range between $30,000 and $40,000, commissioners were told during Tuesday’s meeting.

Washoe County first went through standard procedures to fill Slaughter’s position, including posting the opening on GovernmentJobs.com and through other routine venues for two weeks starting April 23. It garnered 17 applicants, 11 which met minimum qualifications.

County Commissioner
Marsha Berkbigler.

Commissioner Marsha Berkbigler said the board hasn’t received a list of who the qualified candidates are, although the number of applicants was fewer than it was when Slaughter was hired. The process then attracted about 50 candidates, which included those in the national search.

“If we’re going to open this back up, I think we should go for a national search rather than posting it to try to get local people,” Berkbigler said.

Commissioner Bob Lucey agreed and said the county needs professional help if it’s going to get more applicants.

“It seems at this time we haven’t received the number of applicants we’ve seen in years past for this position, and this is a very important position,” Lucey said. “I believe at this time we should more forward with a national search.”

Slaughter announced April 11 that he plans to retire June 14. He’s held the post the past 5 years and was selected then after a national search. He began at Washoe County in 1986 and has worked as a land use planner, the strategic planning manager, and director of management services. He also represented Washoe County at the Nevada Legislature from 2001-2013.  

Commissioners are expected to name an interim manager at their May 28 meeting.

Human resources analyst Indu Moore said there’s a difference between actual requirements and desired criteria and that the 11 candidates who met minimum qualifications haven’t been evaluated for desired criteria.

Moore said interview questions will focus on the following topics: leadership/management, fiscal management, economic development, public service/community engagement, strategic vision, collaboration/interpersonal skills, communication skills, and political awareness.

Washoe County
Kitty Jung.

Commissioner Kitty Jung made it clear that the 11 candidates who’ve already been deemed qualified will get as fair of a chance as anybody who turns up from a national search.

“They stay in the group,” Jung said. “You guys have decided they’ve made it past the (requirements). Keep them in there.”

Candidates would be interviewed in early August, with a formal appointment in late summer and a start date in early fall, according to a timeline put out by Washoe County human resources staff.

Carla O'Day
Carla O'Day
Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.