Exit Interview: Q&A with Bill Kohbarger
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Outgoing Pahrump Town Manager Bill Kohbarger sat down with the Pahrump Valley Times this week for an exit interview. His last day on the job is today, though he says he will spend some Fridays and Saturdays helping the town’s new manager get up to speed. Kohbarger is leaving for a human resources position with the City of North Las Vegas.
Why did you decide to resign after more than five years as town manager?
“I had a very good opportunity for my family that came along and I couldn’t resist taking it. I was only fishing for the really big jobs and I had two really nice interviews.
I knew the manager in North Las Vegas. He gave me a call, we sat down and talked and I thought it was a great opportunity.”
Why do you still want to oversee the airport project after assuming your duties in North Las Vegas?
“Until the town board decides to either put in a permanent or make the interim (manager) permanent. I just want to make sure that project continues to go forward. We put in lot of hours and we are finally starting to make some headway. The FAA is strongly on board. We are trying to get the BLM on board. We had a meeting this past Monday and it seems like now they are starting to come around so I see no good reason to drop it. It’s a great time to continue to push really hard for this.”
On a scale of one to 10, how would you rate yourself as town manager?
“Wow, that’s a tough one. Maybe I’d give myself a 7.75. I’m not perfect. I’ve made some mistakes, but I like to think I also did a lot of good stuff for the community.”
With that said, do you think you were treated unfairly at times during your tenure?
“A lot of that stuff did not really bother me because I knew who was saying it and they didn’t have any facts at all. They were always proven wrong and I guess it was their way of trying to make themselves look good and make themselves come out on top. I took a little heat but I survived the heat and we continued to prosper.”
What do you make of some of the rancor among town board members especially during the meetings?
“They just need to keep doing their homework and not doing it the night of the town board meetings. They also need to continue on with communicating among themselves and then working as a team or at least trying to work as a team. The other night at the town board meeting I thought they did a really good job. There was a little bit of a flare-up between Mr. (Harley) Kulkin and Mrs. (Amy) Riches, but it ended quickly. Being five different people who can’t talk to each other because of open meeting laws, they only have staff to rely on when they are doing their homework, some of them do it and some of them don’t. The ones who don’t need to step up and do it before the town board meetings.”
As a follow-up, do you think it would be a good idea to try and relax or change the open meeting laws in order to get things done more efficiently?
“I wouldn’t say relax because they were put in for a reason, but maybe they somehow created some work sessions an hour or two before the meeting to let the town board and other elected officials in the state get together where they can sit and talk together. I’m not saying they should vote on issues, but when they get into the meeting, they already know what’s going on. They will then have a strong solid way of how they are going to vote.”
Why do some of the town board meetings run so long?
“If you look at any business in America that’s successful, they don’t have five, six, seven, or eight-hour board meetings. They have an agenda, they get in, they take care of business and they get out, but the private sector can also talk before they go into the meeting. With the town board, two board members can talk but then they can’t communicate with the other three on issues they just talked about.”
As you prepare to leave your post, what are Pahrump’s strengths?
“The town has really good staff members and so does the county. The elected officials need to step back and let the strengths rise to the top and work together to make Pahrump a great place. We have a lot of space, we have some infrastructure. We are working on ways to bring in more infrastructure like the airport, fairgrounds, Spring Mountain, the Nugget and Golden Gaming and the wineries are the strengths of Pahrump and we need to work together as a team to market and get the word out that this is a great community.”
What are some of Pahrump’s weaknesses in your mind?
“The weaknesses are very similar to the strengths which are a lack of infrastructure and a lack of communication just to name a few.”