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September 17, 2019

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Vetting of Henderson city manager finalists gets underway

Henderson city manager candidates

The six finalists for the Henderson city manager’s position are, top row from left: Ronald Olson, city manager of Corpus Christi, Texas; Steven Goble, Henderson fire chief; and Scott Adams, Las Vegas deputy city manager; and bottom row from left, Steven Sarkozy, former city manager of Carlsbad, Calif., and Bellevue, Wash.; Robert Murnane, Henderson director of public works, parks and recreation; and Orlando Sanchez, Las Vegas deputy city manager.

The Henderson City Council has named the six candidates who are vying to be its next city manager.

The vetting process starts today at 1:15 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall, 240 S. Water St., when each candidate will have a half-hour to present their respective vision for the city and plans for the first 100 days in office.

That will be followed by a public reception at city hall from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, with formal interviews before the city council taking place on Thursday at 1:15 p.m. The council will make its pick as soon as Thursday night.

The pool of candidates includes four local applicants — two from Las Vegas and two from Henderson — as well as two from outside Nevada. Collectively the group, all men, have decades of experience in municipal government administration.

The new city manager will take over at a time when Henderson and its 286,000 residents are slowly recovering from the recession. Although the city's budget is balanced, it still faces a long-term multimillion-dollar deficit needed to fund streets, sewers, parks and other infrastructure maintenance.

The winner will replace the recently retired Jacob Snow, who served as city manager for three years at an annual salary of $228,375, and will oversee 2,000 employees and half a billion dollars in spending across more than a dozen departments including police, fire and public works.

Here's a look at the six candidates:

Steven Goble, Henderson fire chief

Goble was named Henderson's fire chief in 2011 after 21 years in the department as a firefighter, engineer, captain and deputy chief. In that role, he oversees one of the city's biggest departments, with a budget totaling $41 million and 235 employees spread across 10 locations.

Goble points to increased ambulance transports, reduced workplace accidents and new community education programs as some of his biggest accomplishments as chief.

Goble has a bachelor's degree in public safety administration from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix and a master's in security studies, homeland security and defense from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.

In his 100-day plan, Goble said his focus will be on communication with city staff, elected officials and the community.

"The new city manager is inheriting a solid organization that is well-positioned for continued success," he wrote.

Robert Murnane, Henderson senior director of Public Works, Parks and Recreation

A licensed civil engineer, Murnane has worked for Henderson since 1996 as a project engineer and department director.

He recently oversaw a merger of two of the city's largest departments, public works and parks and recreation.

Murnane described himself as a fiscally conservative "strategic decision-maker" with experience planning, organizing and implementing complex programs and initiatives.

He identified the city's growing population and increased demand for services as key challenges facing the new city manager and said he wants to develop a financial recovery plan to help address those needs over the next five years.

Murnane has a bachelor's degree from the Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls, Ore.

Scott Adams, Las Vegas deputy city manager

After two decades working in Florida, Louisiana and several other states, Adams took a job with Las Vegas in 2004 overseeing the city's business development department.

Since then he's served as chief urban redevelopment officer and since 2013, as deputy city manager overseeing economic and urban development, the fire department, parks and recreation, cultural affairs and community services. He has a bachelor's degree in urban planning from Michigan State University.

As city manager, he said he would focus on quality of life issues like neighborhoods, parks, schools and public safety as well as finding ways to support developments along Water Street and at the currently under-construction Union Village.

A Henderson resident, Adams said “leading positive change in the city I live in has great personal appeal."

Orlando Sanchez, Las Vegas deputy city manager

Sanchez has worked in Las Vegas for 27 years, rising from an economic and urban development analyst to become the city's deputy manager in 2006, a job in which he oversees public works, planning and licensing, operations and maintenance and detention. Sanchez has bachelor and master's degrees in business administration.

Sanchez said he wants to maintain Henderson's status as a "premier community" while finding ways to continue to fund maintenance on city assets. He said he wants to preserve the city's "rural setting" while also allowing for "intelligent" development and growth through long-term planning.

"I will not rush to make change simply for the sake of change," he wrote in his application. "Rather I will take the time to listen and learn and evaluate how to move the city forward to the next level."

Ronald Olson, Corpus Christi, Texas city manager

Olson has been the city manager of Corpus Christi, a city with a population of about 316,000, since 2011. Prior to that he served as a city manager and county administrator in local governments in Texas, Iowa, Ohio, Michigan and Utah over a 37-year career.

Shortly after taking the Corpus Christi job in 2011, Olson undertook an overhaul of the city's government that included 66 job cuts and a property tax increase to close a $11.5 million budget shortfall, according to the Corpus Christi Caller Times.

In his application to Henderson, Olson said his goal during his first months on the job will be to "meet as many people as possible, ask a lot of questions and listen very carefully."

He said he wants to examine the city's management processes to ensure they're well-integrated and functional.

Steven Sarkozy, former Carlsbad, Calif., city manager

Sarkozy has served as a city manager for the last 31 years in four cities around the country, mostly recently in Carlsbad, Calif., which has a population of about 112,000 people.

Sarkozy left Carlsbad after less than a year on the job, after which the city's mayor described him as "just not the right fit," according to The Coast News.

Shortly after his resignation, Sarkozy said, "To reach peak performance, the City Council, city manager and staff need to be in complete alignment, and we just weren’t able to get there."

In his application to Henderson, Sarkozy said he's been "the new guy" in three different cities and has experience getting up to speed quickly.

He said during his first 100 days on the job he'd want to learn Henderson's "culture" and processes for making decisions with an eye toward improving communication and information presented to the council and public.

Sarkozy has a bachelor's degree in public administration from Miami University in Ohio and a masters of public administration from Syracuse University.

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