The Pahrump Town Board voted to amend Interim Town Manager Susan Holecheck’s contract but not without an in-depth discussion on the issue Tuesday evening.
The agenda item was one of two pertaining to remuneration of town staff.
Cited in the compensation portion of the amended contract, the board signed off and agreed to pay Holecheck an annual base salary of $85,000 payable in installments at the same time that other management employees are paid.
The agreement will become effective Oct. 1, 2013 and will continue to remain in effect until Dec. 31, 2014.
Under the original contract, Holecheck earned an annual base salary of $55,000, or $27,500 for six months of employment.
Board member Dr. Tom Waters authored the item after what he said was an outstanding performance in response to the severe floods sustained in Pahrump in late July.
Waters also said there have been other instances of Holecheck’s solid performance that were not known to the public since she was hired roughly two months ago.
“A longer term contract is desired and pursuant to the existing contract, the Town of Pahrump should consider an increase in salary. She has filled the big shoes of Bill Kohbarger since day one, and now, I’m glad to say that she is wearing her own shoes,” he said.
Buildings and Grounds Director Matt Luis, who has seen the likes of several town managers during his near 20-year career, also praised Holecheck’s work ethic during staff comment.
“I have been with the town for 17 years and I have seen a lot of town managers come and go. Granted I did not work with a lot of them directly, but in the short time that Susan has been here, I have seen her in action several times. What really impresses me in my opinion, she asks questions, she does her homework and then she makes her decision. Most of the time they’re correct,” he jokingly said to a round of laughter from the audience.
One individual who is not a part of town staff or the board also encouraged the amendment of the interim town manager’s contract.
The man was someone who knows her better than perhaps anyone else in the room.
Holecheck’s ex-husband Brian provided public comment on the issue.
“I was married to that woman for 22 years, two months and three days and I will tell you one thing, she ran me better than you think. In 1998, she became the first paralegal in the State of Nevada to be recognized nationally. She has had 30 years of experience in law. We moved from Las Vegas after 12 and a half years to Mesquite and two years later she ran for the city council and won a seat as one of the first intelligent women on the council. Two years later she challenged the Mayor of Mesquite and became the first woman mayor in Mesquite. There has never been a mayor that has been elected for a second term,” he told the board.
It was not all smiles and laughter as discussions continued into the evening.
Local resident George Gingell pointed out that the town had a contract in place with Holecheck and the contract should run its course before any other talks about amending it can take place.
“I’m going to play devil’s advocate here and say there is something that all you people forgot. She signed a contract and until the contract is done, I don’t care what kind of job she has done, be it a terrible job or a good job. That contract is good for so many months and at the end of it she can get double. I don’t care but you have to live under your contracts,” he said.
A former detractor of Holecheck’s hire was board member Amy Riches, who was in favor of hiring former Town Manager Dave Richards when the position became vacant.
According to her words on Tuesday, she has since had a change of heart.
“Anybody who knows me knows that I wanted Dave Richards and a lot of you did too. I was very disappointed when we got Susan to be honest with you. But having worked with Susan, it has been a very pleasant experience. She just jumped right in and got both feet wet and she has done a fantastic job and I like working with her,” Riches said.
Following further discussion board members voted 5-0 in favor of amending Holecheck’s contract.