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City begins manager search process 

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According to the Reno City Charter, City Council members have six months to hire a new city manager. They discussed the process and approved hiring a search firm at Wednesday’s council meeting.

City Manager Doug Thornley resigned at the beginning of April and will leave the job in early July. No reason was given for his resignation.

City staff suggested a timeline of June through December to move through the recruitment process, candidate vetting, interviews and final approval. Council member Jenny Brekhus asked whether Thornley is still on the city’s payroll. He was not present at Wednesday’s meeting.

Mayor Hillary Schieve chastised Brekhus for asking the question.

“This is not the time to talk about Mr. Thornley,” she said. “We’re going to stop jabbing at one another and move forward … We’re going to be respectful and just talk about the process.”

“You cut me off,” Brekhus responded. “I just wanted to know his status and if he’s in the building day-to-day. I’ll let you answer that later. I presume he’s on the payroll until July.” 

Brekhus also asked who would be the interim city manager during the recruitment process. The city’s Director of Human Resources, Norma Santoyo, said the item being discussed was not about an interim city manager, only about the hiring process. The topic of an interim manager would be coming before the council at a later time, she said. 

Reese said he was concerned about hiring a new manager during the holiday season. Santoyo said there could be flexibility on the start date so long as a candidate was selected within the six-month window. 

Brekhus said she is concerned by the council’s previous selection of candidates without city manager experience and the city’s record of hiring hometown or inside candidates which might deter outside candidates from applying. 

“None of us know what we’re going to get on paper,” Schieve said. “I don’t believe you have to be a city manager. You’ve got to have it in your heart and love this community.” 

Duerr said she wanted to make sure candidates understand northern Nevada before being considered for the job. 

“Nevada is a unique state. We’re not California. We have a more libertarian attitude regardless of political affiliation,” she said. “People come here, and they like the freedom, all the vices are present, they like the low taxes, they love the beautiful environment … these are unique attributes on why so many people are coming here.” 

Council members authorized the Human Resource Department to hire a recruitment firm to find candidates for the City Manager position. 

Kelsey Penrose
Kelsey Penrose
Kelsey Penrose is a proud Native Nevadan whose work in journalism and publishing can be found throughout the Sierra region. She received degrees in English Literature and Anthropology from Arizona State University and is currently pursuing a Masters in Creative Writing with the University of Nevada, Reno at Lake Tahoe. She is an avid supporter of high desert agriculture and rescue dogs.

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