The Nye County Commission axed the Pahrump town manager position and discontinued the legal services contract during its inaugural 2015 meeting Jan. 5.
The unanimous decision followed numerous public comments both in favor and against the elimination of the town manager.
Nye County Manager Pam Webster explained the position of Pahrump town manager had been filled by Susan Holecheck since July 2013 by contractual agreement. The commission agenda item, Webster said, was presented for the commissioners to vote on whether to continue the employment relationship.
Former town board member Tom Waters advocated for the retention of the town manager position. Waters told the commission the position could be retained with no additional cost to taxpayers, since funding for the position was already in place through June 30.
“Why the rush to judgment?” he asked. Dave Stephens pled with the commission to do “a little soul-searching” to keep Holecheck in the position. Other residents claimed county staff had neither the time or the availability to focus on town business.
In contrast to those claims, several residents urged the board to discontinue the position claiming that it was slated as “interim” and “part-time.” Instead, they said, the county commission should take the place of the town board in managing Pahrump affairs.
Following public comment, Commissioner Dan Schinhofen made a motion to discontinue Holecheck’s employment and in her place, named Webster as town manager. The measure was passed unanimously without discussion by the commissioners with direction that Webster develop a town operation plan within 30 days.
A teary-eyed Holecheck said that the decision by the commission seemed to come “pretty fast.”
“No discussion, no nothing,” she said.
On the heels of the motion, Schinhofen successfully moved to terminate the contractual obligations for legal services between the town of Pahrump and Armstrong Teasdale LLP, effective Feb. 7. That motion, together with a decision to retain the town’s advisory boards, consisting of: an arena; events; nuclear waste and environmental; parks and recreation; public lands; tourism; veterans’ memorial; youth and airport technical advisory boards were passed unanimously by the commission.
These actions follow the dissolution of the elected Pahrump Town Board on Dec. 31.