Jan Baum chosen to be city manager of Elko | Government and politics


ELKO – Elko City Council has unanimously approved CFO Jan Baum as the new City Manager effective February 1.

Baum, who has worked with the city for nearly three years, told council on Tuesday that she was “ready to go” with the transition.

Current city manager Curtis Calder, who is retiring on Baum’s first day, said he will groom her for the job and look for a new chief financial officer.

“It won’t be an easy task,” he said of replacing Baum’s position. “It will take a few months.”

“Jan Baum has all the qualifications listed in the job description, and my recommendation has not changed,” he added. “I think Jan will make a great city manager for the city council. I would recommend that council appoint her as city manager effective February 1, 2022.”

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“It will be a very smooth transition,” he added.

Mayor Reece Keener said he supported Baum’s nomination, saying he had “all the confidence in the world in January.”

Born and raised in Montana, Baum called Elko home after earning an accounting degree from Montana State University in 1991. She said her entire family from Montana has since moved to the area. Her husband is from Nevada and they have two children.

After becoming a CPA, she worked for McMullen McPhee. Baum also managed Elko Veterinary Clinic and McMullen Insurance, working with the company during its acquisition phase by LP Insurance. She also did the same with Eklund Drilling and brought them through their acquisition to Boart Longyear.

Looking back on her career, she said all of her private sector jobs helped her transition into supervising city finances, having previous experience in government accounting. At McMullen McPhee, she worked as an auditor and did taxes.

“It was a great learning experience,” she recalls. “I was developing budgets and doing audits.”

In July, Calder announced his retirement after nearly 24 years as city manager, concluding a three-decade career in Nevada public service.

He promised the city council that he would oversee the transition of the next city manager. Calder suggested three options for his replacement: a direct appointment from an internal or external candidate, an internal/competitive recruitment process, or an open/competitive recruitment process.

Calder recommended Baum at that time, adding that the appointment would provide a few additional months of training before his official retirement date.

“She sees the financial side, but not the operational side of things,” he said, pointing to his experience with high-level finance, airport grants, audits and budgets.

Keener said he agreed with Calder’s ruling, which keeps the city’s best interests in mind. In an email to the City, former councilman Robert Schmidtlein also offered his support for Baum, noting that five department heads supported the choice.

“Jan has very good skills as a city manager,” he wrote. “Curtis being able to train and mentor her for the next six months will be very beneficial, not only for her but for all of the city staff to help her through the transition period.”

The board, including Clair Morris, Giovanni Puccinelli, Mandy Simons and Chip Stone, all supported the decision to have Calder replace Baum and Calder’s recommendation.

Morris praised Baum for his knowledge and “good interpersonal skills”, with Puccinelli saying his support was in line with his belief in “promoting from within”.

Baum said she was “excited” about the new job, but acknowledged it would be “a very challenging position.”

Having worked for the City for three years as Chief Financial Officer, she said she gained insight into all of City Hall’s departments. “I constantly visit all managers and directors, sit down with them in person to learn more about their challenges and staffing.”

“It gives you an idea of ​​the challenges and opportunities in the city and gives you insight into each department,” Baum continued. “I think it gives you a good foundation, and I think it also helps with problem solving.”

She said those three years also gave her insight into the state regulations and statutes that need to be followed: “I don’t know all of them, but I have some exposure to it.”

Baum said she was looking forward to starting as city manager of the place she has called home for 21 years.

“I’ve always liked to call Elko my home,” she said. “It’s a wonderful place for me to raise my family.”