Frisco hires former South Lake Tahoe city manager Nancy Kerry as new town manager
Frisco announced late last week that it w ill hire Nancy Kerry, the former city manager of South Lake Tahoe, California, to take over the role of town manager.
The move to hire Kerry comes just over three months after former Frisco town manager Randy Ready announced his resignation from the position, citing familial obligations and other opportunities in the Denver area. Frisco’s director of recreation, Diane McBride, stepped into the role of interim town manager during the town’s search for Ready’s replacement, a process that included almost 50 applicants and interviewing five different individuals for the position.
“Frisco had a number of well-qualified applicants for our next town manager and we’re delighted to welcome Nancy, who brings extensive experience in local government and will be a tremendous asset to the town,” said Mayor Gary Wilkinson.
Kerry, a native of southern California, first took an interest in government working as a senior manager consultant with her father’s company Vironex, Inc. — a business which invented new chassis for motorhomes.
“I really wanted to go into government because they were always in our way,” said Kerry. “Private business needs government to be efficient and effective, and at my dad’s company we were always trying to get products to the market. My father ran for office and wanted to make things better. And I decided to go into college and see if I could go into government to make things more efficient. That’s been my goal for the last 20 years.”
Kerry attended San Diego State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice and a master’s in public administration. Following her graduation she stepped directly into the world of government, taking on an internship position at the city manager’s office in Carlsbad. Her career kicked off in earnest in 2001 after she took on the role as assistant to the city manager and senior management analyst for the city of Solana Beach.
Kerry moved to South Lake Tahoe in 2007, where she worked as vice president of public affairs for the South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce. In 2008, she began working with the city’s government as the assistant to the city manager, as well as redevelopment and housing manager. She was promoted to city manager in 2012, where she served until earlier this year. Most recently, she worked as an organizational development consultant for nonprofit Valhalla Tahoe.
During her time with the South Lake Tahoe government Kerry was lauded for her financial acumen, helping to more than double the city’s general fund reserves and developing strategies to eliminate millions in debt in unfunded post-retirement benefit plans in the town. Kerry was also praised for her efforts in the town’s redevelopment, most notably serving as the negotiator in a three year process to acquire a derelict hotel in the town’s center and create a new Whole Foods and commercial retail spaces in its place. Kerry said she plans to bring that same financial prowess to Frisco, at the discretion of the town council.
“I bring a couple decades of experience and a mature approach to making sure we think about the long-term,” said Kerry. “Frisco is in good shape with healthy reserves. But when you’re getting into economic uncertain years, having that knowledge means I won’t come in and spend those reserves. … I’m fiscally conservative, and cautious about what the future holds. But we also want to find ways to grow our revenue, make sure that our events are effective, bring in good returns on investments and plan for the future.”
But Kerry’s time in South Lake Tahoe wasn’t without some controversy. Earlier this year, following Kerry’s resignation as town manager, the Tahoe Daily Tribune published a story levying accusations that Kerry contributed to a “toxic” work environment, quoting mostly anonymous sources that portrayed Kerry as a vengeful, manipulative leader. Kerry vehemently denied the assertion.
“While certainly people can anonymously say whatever they want, that had nothing to do with my leaving the city,” said Kerry. “There’s never been a complaint filed, and that report came out after I resigned from the city. … I think there was some political motivation behind it, and I can’t really speak to anonymous complaints. But if there were anything like that there would have been witnesses come forward. Somebody would have said something in the 12 years I was with the city.”
During the hiring process, the town of Frisco looked into the accusations, but didn’t discover anything of note.
“I looked into everyone before I recommended anyone,” said former town manager Bill Efting, who headed the search committee for Frisco. “I found no truth in any of the accusations.”
Before Kerry left, the city made a proclamation to celebrate her many successes during her time with the city’s government. More than 75 community leaders from the city’s government and business community gathered in November to see her off, including former and current mayors.
Kerry is expected to begin her new role on Jan. 28 and said she’s excited to get started.
“I’m very excited to be part of the community,” said Kerry. “It’s a magical opportunity and I’m very grateful. The community will see me out and about at events, in coffee shops, riding my bike on the rec trail and out on the slopes at the adventure park. I want to be a part of what people there experience every day. I think it makes you a better manager, and I want the town to become a part of me as much as I want to be a part of it.”
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