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County’s ‘compass’ steps down
by Garrett E. Valenzuela
Jun 25, 2013 | 1248 views | 0 0 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by Garrett Valenzuela -- Washoe County Manager Katy Simon, left, listens to Washoe County Board of County Comissioners Chairman David Humke read a resolution of recognition at Tuesday's meeting, which was Simon's final meeting as she will be retiring July 1.
Tribune photo by Garrett Valenzuela -- Washoe County Manager Katy Simon, left, listens to Washoe County Board of County Comissioners Chairman David Humke read a resolution of recognition at Tuesday's meeting, which was Simon's final meeting as she will be retiring July 1.
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Tribune photo by Garrett Valenzuela -- Katy Simon, center, stands with the Board of County Commissioners Tuesday morning in celebration of Simon's retirement from the position of Washoe County Manager.
Tribune photo by Garrett Valenzuela -- Katy Simon, center, stands with the Board of County Commissioners Tuesday morning in celebration of Simon's retirement from the position of Washoe County Manager.
slideshow
SPARKS -- Tears accompanied laughter Tuesday morning as Washoe County Manager Katy Simon was recognized by the Washoe County Commission for her 15-year service to Washoe County. Tuesday marked Simon’s final board meeting with the County Commission and her retirement goes into effect July 1.

Simon accepted a plaque and congratulatory resolution of recognition from County Commission Chairman David Humke before stepping to the podium to share her final remarks to the Commission and Washoe County staff.

“I thank the entire staff. We have had an amazing journey together. The employees of Washoe County, what an honor to serve with these people. It has been an amazing journey. The citizens are wonderful folks who dedicate their time and also keep us on the straight and narrow and have spoken up when we need to have things spoken up about.

“I couldn't have been luckier than I have been to serve the people of Washoe County for 15 years. It’s been, really, an amazing career and I am so grateful and so humbled by the privilege that you have given me. It has been the joy of a lifetime.”

Simon was met with a standing ovation as she left the podium to return to her seat for the remainder of the board meeting. After incoming County Manager John Berkich addressed Simon, each County Commissioner took the opportunity to comment on Simon’s years of dedication including Sparks/Spanish Springs Commissioner Vaughn Hartung.

“You have been a joy, and a gem and a gift to Washoe County,” Hartung told Simon. “You really have led us. You have been a leader in northern Nevada and a real inspiration. We will miss your presence. I have not been on the Commission long ... but you have been a very great compass for us and I want to thank you personally for that.”

Prior to becoming County Manager, Simon was Washoe County’s Deputy County Manager and also held several other positions in finance and management at the County since 1978.

The Board of County Commissioners (BCC) will begin a national search as quickly as possible to replace Simon and will appoint an interim manager as needed until a permanent manager is in place.

Some of Washoe County’s accomplishments during Simon’s tenure include:

• Bond rating upgrades, including the most recent one during the depths of the recession

• The successful start-up of the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District

• Implementation of the employee classification and compensation system which twice won State Legislature awards for objectivity and fairness

• The 2013 Citizen Survey which achieved an 18 point (44 percent) increase in citizen satisfaction since the last survey and a 90 percent satisfaction rating from citizens on how the County handled the recent fiscal crisis

• Featured in the IBM Center for the Business of Government report on collaborative services, the national National Association of Counties report on responding to the fiscal crisis, and the Alliance for Innovation national study on navigating the fiscal crisis

• Construction of the nationally-recognized Jan Evans Juvenile Justice Center and the Mills Lane Justice Center, both without a tax increase

• Protection of thousands of acres of pristine open space

• Acquisition and construction of new parks and trails

• Winning the Nevada Taxpayers Association Cashman Good Government Award in two of the past three years, and three times overall

• National recognition in the book Results that Matter for our performance measurement program, as well as for being the No. 1 Local Government in the US for Waste Reduction three times, the No. 1 and No. 2 Digital County in the US for our population, the National Association of Counties award winner for the 2008 Natural Resources Management Plan, and for being identified as a model program for Juvenile Services and Social Services.

“It has been my great honor and privilege to serve the people of Washoe County, my fellow employees and the Board of County Commissioners for most of my adult life, most recently as County Manager for the past 15 years,” Simon said. “It's been a truly gratifying and wonderful career for which I am deeply grateful. But it's time for a change for me and opportunities to contribute to the future of local government on a national and international level are tugging at my heart.”
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