Will Pinkerton Take Job Offer in Incline?

pinkerton-steveDavis’ City Manager was offered the position of General Manager of IVGID (Incline Village General Improvement District) on Wednesday following a 4-1 vote by the board of trustees in the morning to enter into contract negotiations.

According to a report from the Tahoe Daily Tribune, “Trustees anticipate bringing a contract for approval and an official start date, should Pinkerton accept the position, at the Feb. 12 board meeting, chairman Joe Wolfe said.”

“I’m looking forward to hopefully having successful contract negotiations and getting up here and getting started as soon as possible,” Mr. Pinkerton said after Wednesday’s board meeting. “It has to be a contract we can all work out … for me to run the district effectively, there needs to be a good contract in place. I’m confident we can do that.”

The pace of events probably moved unexpectedly fast on Wednesday.  Mr. Pinkerton seemed to back off those comments slightly, indicating that he was caught off guard by the immediate decision by the board.

“I am honored to be the preferred candidate for the General Manager position for IVGID.  We are now in the contract negotiation stage,” he told the Vanguard late on Wednesday.

He would add, “As I stated before, this is a unique opportunity.  I’m very happy in my current position.   I truly enjoy working with our City Council.  We’ve made many friends in Davis and the quality of life here is great.”

But the imminent exit of Davis’ City Manager puts the city of Davis in a tough spot going forward.  The city is currently looking to close a $5.1 million deficit that is much larger when you factor in deferred maintenance costs.  The city is hoping to put one or two tax measures on the ballot, but the confidence of the citizens may take a hit after Mr. Pinkerton’s exit.

Part of the speed of the process was that one of the finalists with Mr. Pinkerton for the position, a local resident, was ruled ineligible.  The Tahoe Daily Tribune reported earlier this week that the “search firm hired by the IVGID Board of Trustees to find a new district leader is taking blame for an oversight that reveals one candidate was never qualified to apply.”

One of the two finalists for the position of general manager of the Incline Village General Improvement District, Eric Severance, does not have a bachelor’s degree, one of the position’s minimum requirements.

The paper reported, “While Severance, an Incline resident, was a member of the class of 1975 at Juniata College, he did not graduate with a degree, a spokesperson for the Huntingdon, PA., school confirmed Monday.”

The paper noted, “Severance, who wrote on his resume he attended Juniata and had continuing education at Southern Oregon State University and Rogue College (Medford, Ore.), confirmed Tuesday he does not hold a degree.”

“I never misrepresented anything on my resume, what’s there is exactly as it’s stated,” Mr. Severance told the paper. “The search firm vetted me and understands all of my background and qualifications. They recommended to put me forward based on my total lifetime accomplishments as the best candidate for the position.”

The listed job description is, “A Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration, Business, Finance, Accounting Engineering or other related field from an accredited four year college or university is required.” Further, a master’s in public or business administration is “strongly preferred.”

It is of course the other finalist that we have more interest in, and Mr. Pinkerton, of course, meets both the required and preferred educational levels needed for the position.

Mr. Pinkerton, in a comment on the record, cited personal reasons for applying for the Incline Village position.

He told the Vanguard in early January, “My wife and I have always loved Lake Tahoe.  Audrey lived in Zephyr Cove as a young adult and has always dreamed of going back to the mountains.  We also have very close friends who live in the Reno-Tahoe area.”

He called the opportunity a unique one and denied he was actively seeking a new position.

“While I haven’t been actively looking for a new position, the position description piqued my interest,” stated Mr. Pinkerton.  “The opportunity to manage a service-focused Special District in one of the most livable communities in the country is a unique opportunity.”

Two councilmembers declined comment previously. However, Mayor Joe Krovoza, in a text to the Vanguard, said, “Our council with Steve is moving tremendously important issues forward.  He has gained a great sense for our values and how to reflect them in his two-plus years with us.  I hope we keep the momentum going, but I certainly understand why others are interested in him.”

According to the job description, the Incline Village General Improvement District, commonly known as IVGID, is located on the northeast corner of Lake Tahoe, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Washoe County, Nevada and occupies a land area of approximately 15.36 square miles.

It is a community of roughly 9000 people.

The description explains, “The community encompasses approximately 9,400 parcels in an unincorporated rural area. The District includes parcels with addresses in both Incline Village and Crystal Bay and approximately 1,200 of these parcels are government exempt (USFS, State) and of the remaining 8,200 parcels, more than half are owned for occasional use.”

IVGID was formed in 1961 as a General Improvement District which is a quasi-municipal corporation.  The Board of Trustees operates as a city council type organization, elected, setting policy on behalf of the electorate.

However, the description notes, “While the district is a local unit of government, it functions more as a business because of the significant enterprise nature of most of its activities.”

Mr. Pinkerton told the Vanguard he was not added to the list of interviewees until late October.

He also assured council and the public that he was not seeking other positions, that this was what he considered a unique opportunity, given the community and the proximity of lifelong friends.

“I want to emphasize that I am very happy in my current position and continue to enjoy working for the City Council and the citizens of Davis,” he said.  “I have not been submitting applications for any other positions, and I am not considering any other opportunities at this time.”

However, at this point, it looks like Davis will be looking to quickly hire an interim city manager who can get the tax measure on the ballot, move forward with the economic development work, and guide the city until the council election in June.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. Cecilia

    If Mr. Pinkerton decides to accept the position it will be a tremendous loss to the city of Davis. I can’t think of a better city manager in the 23 years since I have lived in Davis. Mr. Pinkerton has led the council and city through some very tough decisions and has a keen eye for setting both short-term and long-term goals for the city. If you accept the offer Mr. Pinkerton I wish you and your intelligent and beautiful wife, Audrey, all the best.

  2. Phil Coleman

    Mr. Pinkerton is in an ideal position. He’s going to have two groups begging for his professional services.

    Typically, there are two finalists for any executive position. Two finalists allows for a fall-back candidate should negotiations with the primary candidate break down, or the primary candidate refuses the job offer.

    IVGID now has no second candidate. The District has been publicly embarrassed and must necessarily disassociate itself from Mr. Severance who, at a minimum, is to be faulted for not being able to comprehend a job application. The District’s only practical option is take every measure needed to lure Steve eastward.

    Meanwhile, there is some indication there will be a push from a variety of forces in the City to retain Mr. Pinkerton at this critical juncture in Davis public policy. For him to leave creates a pause of at least a year before the leadership energy level can be even hoped to be restored to its current level.

    Some may contend that we can find a suitable replacement, notwithstanding the long delay in doing so. Perhaps, but quite unlikely. True or not, fair or not, the word that will go out in the City Manager grapevine is that Steve was facing termination for capably doing his job as directed by Council majority. That automatically eliminates the upper tier of city manager candidates. They’ll take a pass on Davis and render their services elsewhere. What a mess!

    1. iPad Guy

      The problem is that Davis has the weak hand in this battle for Pinkerton’s services.

      If Pinkerton can retire at this point, collect his retirement check tax-free in Nevada and slip into to a less-stressful, well-paid final job, no reasonable amount of salary and benefits will keep him here unless the Davis position promises to be rewarding and satisfying in other ways.

      The Wolk-Frerichs-Weist coalition might not have gotten the last vote to dump the city manager, but why would Pinkerton stick around to see if the next election would put a third firefighter union oriented council member in office?

      No one will be able to effectively carry out the solutions that the council directed Pinkerton to pursue simply because his memory, planning and knowhow will leave with him. By the time, someone else gets up to speed, the opportunities will have drifted away (or, more likely, been driven away)

      The three council members who refused to support Weist’s effort, unfortunately, will be left in a weakened position once Pinkerton has left the scene.

  3. hpierce

    Let’s see… a $5 million deficit projected, yet we are spending $1 million to investigate whether we should spend in excess of 550 million for a POU. Obviously the city employee compensation is to blame.

    David… why have you not connected the dots?

    Everyone else, I’d love to join SMUD, and voted that way, and am still strongly interested in doing so. Yet spending significant (20% of projected deficit) to set up a new city power utility, just seems insane.

    More and more inclined to celebrate Mr Pinkerton’s apparently imminant departure, and the possibility that both Joe and Dan will not represent us in the Assembly, and if Ms Swanson supports pursuit of a City power utility, will vote against her, in favor of “rolling the dice” and changing the ‘game’.

    1. David Greenwald

      “David… why have you not connected the dots?”

      What are the dots, the city projects ongoing savings from the move? They are taking out a loan that will be repaid over time for $600,000 and the other $400,000 came from non-general fund sources. I’m all ears on the problem that you see, but I’m not seeing it.

  4. Davis Progressive

    “Some may contend that we can find a suitable replacement, notwithstanding the long delay in doing so. Perhaps, but quite unlikely.”

    while i completely agree with your concerns phil, i would suggest we have a good option in rob white if he wants to do that.

      1. Rich Rifkin

        It seems like Landy is always trying to get a new police chief job with a bigger department. I like Landy and hope he stays with the DPD. But my sense is there are some ambitious people with an itch to keep climbing up a career ladder, and that means they don’t stay in any one city for too long. Landy may be one of those guys. Pinkerton probably is, too.

  5. Michael Harrington

    I wish Steve would stay a couple more years and focus on the budget. We disagree with the surface water project, but other than that, I’ve been pretty OK with his service. People disagree sometimes; not a big deal.

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