Town Manager Susan Holecheck received great news Tuesday, roughly a year after she was hired by the Pahrump Town Board.
Holecheck received the highest marks ever for a local town manager on her annual performance evaluation.
Board members are required to submit the evaluation form with respective assessments of the manager’s performance.
Though the grading varied among board members, all agreed on one thing – the town manager exceeded expectations.
Out of a possible high score of 5, Holecheck earned a 4.1.
A few of the scores may raise some eyebrows among residents.
Last July, when the board voted 4-1 to hire Holecheck, it was Amy Riches who cast the sole “no vote.”
One year later, it was Riches who gave Holecheck a perfect 5 in each category.
She was the only board member to do so.
“I feel Susan has been a perfect town manager,” Riches said.
Robert Adams, however, did not feel the same “love” for the town manager, who has not taken a vacation since her first day on the job.
Adams offered up a score of 3.5, but also did not entirely complete the evaluation form.
In several categories pertaining to Holecheck’s organizational skills, Adams referred to a separate form on which he provided comments about the town manager.
At least one point of contention was an issue with one of the town’s fire trucks that was pulled from service due to what was termed “catastrophic engine failure.”
In his comments, Adams maintains that the board was not informed of the issue in a timely manner.
“It wasn’t until of (sic) three weeks later the town board was informed of this,” Adams stated. “It was informed then because a vote was needed to appropriate funds for purchase of a refurbished fire engine, the only remedy presented. The board should have been timely informed of a major equipment breakdown and remedies considered.”
Holecheck, on the other hand, said this week that the timing of the incident required immediate action on part of the staff last December.
She noted that the pumper truck was so old, the town could not get parts for it any longer.
Additionally, Holecheck said a local business that refurbishes fire trucks appeared to be the best option for the town at the time.
“I had to have a lot of questions answered before I knew how to take it to the board. It was right before Christmas and I called the chairman and explained the situation. He called the owner of the place that repairs our engines and verified that we should not keep funneling money into that pumper,” she said.
Holecheck also said the pumper was taken out of service until the matter could be put on the town’s agenda in January for the board to decide a course of action.
“I didn’t consult him and that was his problem with me,” Holecheck said about Adams’ reaction. “The board implements policy and then it’s up to the town manager to determine how it gets done.”
During that time, Adams told Holecheck he found an engine on the internet that the town could purchase.
The town manager’s response was not what Adams wanted to hear.
“I said that isn’t what we as a town do. We have to go through a process and make sure we are getting good equipment. We can’t just buy an old engine of dubious quality from a website and install it. We don’t know what liability is there. We are talking about people’s lives. When the fire alarm goes off, we have to make sure that our engine doesn’t stall or whatever,” she said.
Adams provided additional comments that seemed to contradict his criticism of Holecheck’s performance.
“Overall, our town is fortunate to have Susan Holecheck. Ms. Holecheck is highly knowledgeable in law and practices governing municipal management. She’s always available and effectively responds when the unforeseen arises. Her demeanor is always professional, that includes consonant (sic) courtesy. She has tremendous energy coupled with initiative and strong will that moves long- stalled projects forward,” the board member stated.
Vice Chair Bill Dolan, who indicated Holecheck met his expectations a majority of the time since she was hired, gave her a score of 2.93.
Chairman Harley Kulkin and board member Dr. Tom Waters gave the town manager scores of 4.23 and 4.40 respectively.
Holecheck did say that she was pleased with how her evaluation turned out.
“I was actually very pleased with my evaluation, despite some low figures. Overall, the HR director said I scored higher than any other town manager has ever scored,” she said.