By Selwyn Harris
Though Pahrump town board members voted to extend his contract earlier this year, Pahrump Town Manager Bill Kohbarger is testing the employment waters just outside of Las Vegas.
The Pahrump Valley Times has learned that Kohbarger is a finalist for the position of City Manager for Boulder City.
It’s the second time this year the town manager has expressed an interest in leaving Pahrump to take a job elsewhere.
In April, Kohbarger was named as a finalist, along with three others vying for the city manager position in Medford, Ore. The pay would have been $152,000 per year.
The Boulder City position became available when current City Manager Vicki Mayes decided to retire and submitted her six-month resignation notice on June 12.
More than 40 applications were received by the city Human Resource Office.
After being ranked and reviewed, the seven most qualified candidates were sent essay questions where they were expected to respond within a six-day window.
When asked to respond to supplemental questions during the application process Kohbarger pointed out what attracted him to the city manager position.
“As a manager, I admire that Boulder City believes in investing in itself. It takes full advantage of its surroundings and absorbs that into its culture while maintaining a small town atmosphere. Boulder City has been on my personal radar since moving to Nevada in 2000. I have been interested in the manager’s position since 2004, when Mrs. Mayes was hired internally.
“Boulder City offers the quality of life that I appreciate for my family and my awareness of the city’s philosophy regarding professionalism and “smart” approach makes it that much more attractive,” he stated.
Kohbarger said on Monday that he loves Pahrump and has no regrets about accepting his current position as town manager roughly four years ago.
“I really enjoy Pahrump, but the political climate is a bit shaky. It’s been a wild ride and there’s been a few things that have made it a wild ride but overall I think all of the decisions that the staff and town board have made have been pretty solid.
“I especially like the makeup of the town board right now because they do a heck of a job. All four of them do their homework and when they have questions for me, they come in and ask. They don’t try to do my job. They allow myself and staff to do our jobs. You can’t ask for anything better from this board,” he said.
Kohbarger has in-state competition for the soon to be vacant position. He is up against a self-employed management consultant from Yerington, who also served as the Lyon County Manager for more than three years. He is also facing off with Boulder City Public Works Director Scott Hansen.
Other candidates include the interim town manager from Dallas, N.C., a former city manager from Indianola, Iowa, and the current town administrator from Berlin, Md.
According to public documents, Kohbarger expressed interest in the Boulder City position when he sent a letter dated Aug. 28, to Personnel Administrator Bryce Boldt from the Human Resources department.
The letter was accompanied by his resume outlining his local government experience in Pahrump.
Last Thursday, Boldt said that the selection process is still in its early stages.
“The City Council and the finalists will meet at 12:15 p.m. on Monday, October 22, at the Boulder City Senior Center for lunch and an informal interaction with the council and the public. At 1:15 p.m., a special city council meeting will be held to interview the finalists. The council will make a determination on the 22nd or at their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, October 23.
“The contingencies of a job offer are a physical examination, a thorough background investigation and a negotiated employment contract. It is likely these contingencies will be met in varying time frames. It is anticipated that a negotiated employment contract may be reviewed and approved at the city council meeting on November 13. It is likely that the background investigation will be complete at that time or very shortly thereafter. Once all contingencies are met, the City would make a formal job offer with a start date of December 13, 2012.
The person selected for the Boulder City position will earn up to $138,000 annually with benefits.
The position assumes management responsibility of the city with an annual $76 million dollar budget.
The city manager is appointed by a five member non-partisan city council who serve four-year overlapping terms.
Pahrump Town Board Chair Vicky Parker said she is not surprised at all by Kohbarger’s decision to possibly leave his Pahrump position.
“The public has been allowed to abuse him and he has not been treated that well by some of the citizens in this town. It really started when a former town board member put outlawing guns at town board meetings on the agenda. That just brought out hatred. He put it on the agenda because that is his job but it wasn’t his idea to put it on the agenda but people still don’t believe it,” she said.
Parker was referring to a Jan. 27, town board meeting where the issue was brought forward as a public safety concern.
The agenda item sought to prohibit both open carry and concealed firearms at town board meetings except for on-duty law enforcement officers.
The item failed to pass.
Meanwhile, Kohbarger said that he is comforted by the fact that Pahrump town board members are from various backgrounds, experiences and levels of training.
He noted it is crucial to get a variety of opinions about very important issues facing the community.
“We have four very distinctly different individuals sitting on the board, which really adds to the makeup because you don’t want four businessmen who all are successful.
“We have a retired Lt. Colonel with Dr. Tom Waters, we have a retired successful businessperson in Vicky Parker. Harley Kulkin is a successful businessperson and he is very outspoken and very opinionated. When he wants something, he goes hard after it.
“We have Mike Darby who is the big guy who speaks softly and carries a big stick. When he speaks, everybody listens. He is very smart and very creative. He is not afraid of making phone calls and knocking on doors.
“Overall it’s a great town board and I wish I could keep them. I wish the future was a little bit more solidified here for Pahrump,” he said.