Truckee preps for selection of town manager
TRUCKEE — The town of Truckee hopes to make an offer to a new town manager this Tuesday.
The search for Jeff Loux’s replacement began July 1 after he stepped down as town manager after three and a half years of service, Town Clerk Judy Price said.
Mayor David Polivy said if the Town Council functions as the equivalent of an organization’s board of directors, the town manager is essentially the CEO.
“The town manager is the head of this entity, but still needs to answer to the board of directors,” Polivy said. “They balance the financial and physical realities of policy directives handed down by the majority of the Town Council.”
The town manager is appointed by sitting council members, who are themselves essentially volunteers, Price said.
“Because they serve at the pleasure of the council, it’s up to (the council) to hire the town manager and town attorney,” Price said. “The rest of the town staff all report to the town manager.”
Because the manager is charged with executing and realizing policy that the council puts forth, the position is paid, Price said. Truckee’s website advertises the town manager’s annual salary as between $152,864 and $206,366.
According to Price, Loux will collect the equivalent of six months severance pay until February 2021.
Loux revealed his plans to depart within weeks of former Police Chief Robert Leftwich’s retirement announcement. Since then, Truckee’s Public Works Director and Town Engineer Dan Wilkins has served as the acting town manager and Capt. Randy Billingsley as the acting police chief.
Once the Town Council hires the town manager, the police chief selection process will begin.
According to Polivy, the town received over 130 applicants by the Aug. 19 submission deadline.
“The recruiter pre-screens to make sure they have the minimum qualifications required to do the job, then picked a group of people for the council to consider,” Price said.
The applications were narrowed down by the recruiting team to approximately 30 people — 3 different tiers, 10 people each.
In a closed session meeting on Sept. 2, the council narrowed its selection to seven people, with two to four alternates, Price said.
The next step in the process takes place Monday, Polivy said. Two separate panels will conduct a full day of interviews.
“One is a community panel that represents a broad cross-section of our community, including people who work in the tourism industry and contractors,” Polivy said.
The other panel is made up of the Truckee’s department heads.
According to Polivy, former Town Manager Tony Lashbrook will serve on the community panel, which is made up of community members selected by the town. Panelists sign a nondisclosure clause to preserve the privacy of the position’s contenders and to ensure that applicants are protected from negative repercussions they may face from their current employer for putting their hat in the ring, Price said.
“If candidates are private, we generally get a better pool of applicants,” Truckee’s Administrative Services Director Kim Szczurek said. “Without a nondisclosure agreement, the process may have a deleterious effect on their current employment situation.”
Szczurek said meetings with town of Truckee staff and community members are not subject to the Brown Act.
“Meetings between staff and community members actually never have to be public,” Szczurek said. “The Brown Act only applies to elected officials.”
Town Attorney Andy Morris said the Brown Act indicates that the Town Council may participate in closed sessions when considering the appointment and employment of a public employee.
As for delegating the process of paring down the candidate pool, Morris said the general authority of the town allows it to self-determine the employment processes.
Polivy said the panels will report back to the recruiter the same day, so council members may spend all day Tuesday conducting the interviews necessary to choose a finalist by end-of-day Tuesday.
“We hope to put an offer to an applicant that day,” Polivy said.
Price said if the fit does not feel right, the council may opt out entirely.
“If they don’t elect somebody from that recruitment, the position can still stay vacant until they find someone who is a good fit,” Price said.
Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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