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Kohbarger loses NLV job after shake-up

The Pahrump Valley Times confirmed this week that former Pahrump Town Manager Bill Kohbarger lost his job in North Las Vegas.

Kohbarger confirmed the revelation on Wednesday.

“The job was suspended supposedly due to financial crises,” he said.

The former town manager left his position after accepting an offer from the human resources department in the City of North Las Vegas back in June.

He was the longest tenured Pahrump town manager ever, serving more than five years after being hired in mid-2008.

On his final day as town manager this past July, Kohbarger remarked on accepting the offer from North Las Vegas.

“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,” he said.

Kohbarger’s stint in Pahrump can be described as tumultuous at best.

It began shortly after arriving in his new position when several residents requested that he author a town board agenda item regarding individuals carrying firearms to town board meetings.

The Jan. 27, 2009 item focused on the barring of firearms on town-owned property, in town-owned buildings and at town-sponsored events.

The board eventually capitulated following an uproar from local gun rights advocates who packed the Bob Ruud Community Center during that meeting.

The firearms ban was removed from the agenda, on advice from the town’s attorney, Rick Campbell.

On Wednesday, Town Board member Amy Riches was very forthcoming on her feelings about Kohbarger’s present situation.

She was quick to add that she is more than pleased with Interim Town Manager Susan Holecheck’s performance roughly a month after taking that job — though Holecheck was not her ideal choice for the position.

“He cannot have his job back because we now have an interim town manager. He chose to quit and I am happy with our interim town manager. As far as I’m concerned, she is doing a fantastic job and she has a calming, soothing effect. I don’t want Kohbarger to have his job back. Susan has been hired and has at least six months to prove herself. He made a decision to leave and I for one am very happy with who we hired and I don’t want him to have his job back,” she said.

Town Board Chair Harley Kulkin, meanwhile, said it’s very unlikely that Kohbarger will reassume his position as town manager.

“He made a decision to seek employment elsewhere and we all wished him well. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for him. Susan has a six-month contract right now. If the town board decided not to renew that contract, it would be the only opportunity that Mr. Kohbarger would have to apply for that job just like anybody else,” he said.

Holecheck, meanwhile, provided a sympathetic tone after learning about the situation.

“It’s tragic when you make a change in your life and it doesn’t pan out the way you thought it would. It’s hard because he has a family to support,” she said.

Officials in North Las Vegas have not responded to repeated requests for comment on the matter.

Kohbarger’s unemployment comes not long after another North Las Vegas official’s departure.

City Manager Tim Hacker, who presumably hired Kohbarger, resigned his position earlier this month.

Hacker was Mesquite’s city manager for six years until he was hired by North Las Vegas roughly two years ago.

Hacker, like Kohbarger, also experienced some turbulent times during his tenure.

He presided over very fierce negotiations with city employee unions over pay freezes and cutbacks.

While providing comments on his final day as town manager last month, Kohbarger spoke about his detractors within the community that continually criticized his leadership as the town’s chief administrator.

“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.”

Last October, the Pahrump Valley Times reported that Kohbarger sought a manager position in Boulder City as well as a job in Medford, Ore.

He was a finalist for both positions but was passed over.