Webster on course for contract extension

Nye County Manager Pam Webster confirmed Thursday she’s agreed to stay on past the expiration of her Dec. 31 contract.

An extension of Webster’s contract will be considered at the Oct. 1 regular county commission meeting. Webster said it would be a two-year contract extension with no increase in pay.

“We got a lot of things started and I’d like to see them through. One of the things a couple commissioners mentioned to me was keeping some continuity going a little while longer and keeping things going that we started, both organizationally and with projects,” Webster said.

The county commission passed a budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year that if cuts aren’t made, would mean the county ends the year with an $800,000 deficit. Webster was going to come up with a county reorganization plan so the county could end the year in the black.

The new projects include a new sheriff’s department communications system and others she couldn’t mention. The county recently accepted modular buildings at the Calvada Eye that will be renovated into a One Stop Shop for the planning department and Pahrump Building and Safety. Webster is also president of the newly-formed Nye County Regional Economic Development Authority (NCREDA).

There were hints Webster may stay. For instance, commissioners haven’t been discussing any recruitment process for her successor.

County Commissioner Lorinda Wichman said she has asked Webster repeatedly if she would stay. Wichman said she spoke with District Attorney Brian Kunzi about putting her contract back on the agenda. Commission Chairman Butch Borasky will sponsor the Oct. 1 agenda item, she said.

“I think she has done a fantastic job for Nye County. As soon as we got her in there and all the hubbub quieted down, things smoothed out, things between the department heads smoothed out and all that discontent,” Wichman said.

Wichman wants to complete her $350,000 minor road inventory project, involving a consultant from Eureka who is mapping and cataloguing those roads to ensure public access in the future.

Borasky said Webster considered before whether to stay in the position longer. He indicated it would probably be a formality approving an extension.

“Her contract will run out, we could automatically get somebody new or renew it, one of the two. She asked to stay on longer. We’ll just have to approve that when the other one runs out,” Borasky said. “I’ve always been pretty impressed with pretty much everything she’s done and how well she stands up to the political heat as well as the pressure that’s on her.”

Commissioner Frank Carbone said he hasn’t heard anything about Webster wanting a contract extension. But he said, “I’ve been working with her on several things, I’ve not had any issues with Pam.”

Webster was hired as a county finance director in July 2006 and given a $69,222 annual salary. She was formerly manager of accounting finance and contracts for Canon Development Americas in Irvine, Calif. She was also a manager of business planning for Toshiba America Information Systems, also in Irvine and manager of budget and rates for Hughes Training Inc. in West Covina, Calif.

In July 2007, Webster was promoted to assistant county manager after a 3-1 vote of the county commission, following a recommendation by then county manager Ron Williams.

Webster announced in December 2011 she was retiring effective March 31, 2012. At the time Webster said she wanted to make way for younger people. But after county commissioners voted 3-2 to terminate former county manager Rick Osborne Jan. 17, 2012, Webster was given the acting county manager job. Commissioners approved Webster’s county manager contract in March 2012, which was to last until Dec. 31, with no increase in her $121,687 annual salary. Former commissioner Gary Hollis, who lost the November 2012 election, cast the sole vote against Webster’s county manager contract.

Osborne ended up receiving a 17-month severance package, staying on administrative leave after his termination until Aug. 11, when he would have the five years necessary to be vested in the state Public Employees Retirement System (PERS). Osborne continued to receive his salary for 17 months, which amounted to $129,471 annually. News of Osborne’s pending termination broke in January 2012, when Hollis disclosed that “there were three commissioners that no longer wanted his presence.” But his termination agreement stated Osborne agreed to a voluntary resignation due to health considerations.

Since Webster took the county manager job, former commissioner Joni Eastley was hired as an assistant county manager. Eastley stepped down as commissioner Jan. 1 after 12 years due to term limits.