Pahrump Town Manager Bill Kohbarger announced Wednesday that he has accepted an administrative position in the human resources department with the City of North Las Vegas.
His final day as Pahrump town manager is July 12.
Kohbarger said North Las Vegas officials approached him with the offer and following discussions he felt it was best to move on.
“After talking with them, I thought that it would be a great opportunity,” he said.
Kohbarger became town manager in 2008. He says he is proud of the work he’s accomplished.
“I am the longest tenured town manager in Pahrump. Number two would be turning dirt and finally getting something done with the fairgrounds property. Number three would have to be moving the town airport ahead and of course working with the great staff that I have had the privilege of working with. It has been a great pleasure working with all of the people who come through the doors. I have met some absolutely incredible people here,” he said.
Kohbarger said there is obviously some unfinished business the town needs to address in the coming months and years, including finishing the fairgrounds and airport.
He noted that he is not exactly sure how his successor will be chosen.
“We will look for an interim manager to sit in the position whether it be in-house or out of house. I will find out if there is a ‘range writer’ out here to act as an interim when a manager leaves. We might have a retired manager in the area and I know there are several in Clark County,” he said.
Amid recounting his successes, Kohbarger also noted his regrets, including a number of controversies that dogged him during his tenure.
“The uninformed masses in this town treat everybody unfairly, so what do you say about that? There were a few things that I supposedly did, that I actually did not do. The gun issue at town board meetings is a good example and that was not my item. I was asked to put it on the agenda so I got the blame for that. It wasn’t mine, but I took the hit because that’s what a town manager does.
“He or she is the bodyguard for the town board and when the town board is being attacked, it’s the town manager’s job to jump in front and take the hit and deflect it from the town board. I did that on many occasions,” he said.
On the issue of conveying advice to his successor, Kohbarger kept his response very simple.
“Just do your job and don’t worry about the criticism and the haters. It’s very important not to be distracted by criticism. Sometimes the only taste of success people get is by taking a bite out of you. Just do the job at hand,” he advised.
Kohbarger and his family will relocate to Las Vegas next month when he is finished tying up a few loose ends in Pahrump.
He said that there are many things that he will miss about the community, much of which will be discussed in a letter he is presently drafting.
“I love Pahrump and it is a great place to raise a family. I am writing a letter and I hope that local media outlets will publish it. I think the good people in this community need to step up. I understand that it’s tough sometimes when they are working 40-plus hours a week and when they get home they don’t want to get involved. Come to the town board meetings, come to the county commission meetings, and demand a better Pahrump. The informed masses must step up and continue to fight for a better Pahrump because it is a beautiful place with tons of potential,” he said.
On Thursday, town board member Dr. Tom Waters commented on Kohbarger’s resignation.
“When I consider the thought of Bill Kohbarger leaving Pahrump, I am justifiably extremely concerned. All of the on-going projects and events go through this extremely knowledgeable town manager. His knowledge of Nevada law is impeccable and his negotiation skills are superb. The loss to the town can’t be determined at this time and the only plus from my point of view is the end of the ‘hate mail’ from those small minds who have no idea what he does or who he really is. It will be up to the town board and the town staff to pick up the pieces to keep this train moving forward in making Pahrump a better place for all citizens,” Waters said.
Town of Pahrump Finance Director Michael Sullivan wished Kohbarger all the best with his new endeavor.
“We have been a good team together for the past five years and I think it’s a good opportunity for him professionally and for his family. I wish him well,” Sullivan said.
Last year, the majority of voters supported a ballot question to dissolve the town board into an advisory board.
The decision, which is being reviewed by the Nevada Supreme Court, put the future of the town manager’s position in jeopardy.
Kohbarger had already been in search of new employment even before the vote.
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.
Efforts to contact North Las Vegas City officials for comment regarding his new position were unsuccessful.
Kohbarger did drop a few names of people he thought could handle the duties of an interim town manager.
“There’s not too many potential managers who will want to come here if they don’t know they are going to have a job after December of 2014. It might be in-house. Our finance director Mike Sullivan and Fire Chief Scott Lewis are very capable and they are much more than senior department heads. They can run the community. They are very intelligent and we have some good people running the community,” he said.