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Reno

Reno names new city manager

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The Reno City Council on Monday named a new city manager after a series of interviews that took several hours.

Douglas Thornley, an assistant city manager in Sparks, emerged as the best of three finalists.

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Douglas Thornley

Thornley currently focuses on collective bargaining, human resources and government affairs. He has also served the Rail City as senior assistant city attorney. Additionally, he’s worked for local private sector law firms handling land-use and property issues.

During his interview, Thornley told council members that Reno needs to restore its collaborative approach to regional problem solving, which includes issues such as homelessness, sewer and transportation.

“In terms of economic development, we need to target advanced manufacturing and logistics companies and green energy where the opportunity presents itself,” Thornley said.

Although he hadn’t planned on becoming a city manager, Thornley said he saw this position as an opportunity to be part of a team that builds a foundation of opportunity for everyone who chooses to call Reno home.

“I live here and I don’t plan to leave,” said Thornley, who moved to the area with his wife in 2006. “If given the opportunity to contribute to the team, I think I can do more good for more people in this position than I can in Sparks.”

Other candidates were Susan Stanton, who has been a city manager in Greenfield, California; Lake Worth, Florida; and Largo, Florida; along with Robert Stowe, who’s served as city manager in Mill Creek and Bothell, Washington. Stowe was also a city administrator in Lake Stevens.

The council voted 6-1 to hire Thornley, with the dissenting vote coming from Councilwoman Jenny Brekhus.

Reno Police Chief Jason Soto has been acting as city manager. Citing personal reasons, former manager Sabra Newby announced in February that she’d step down after approximately 3 years.

Council members will vote on an employment contract for Thornley at an upcoming meeting.

The city paid $30,000 to Sacramento-based CPS HR Consulting to conduct a national search. There were 66 initial applicants.

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.

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