The Nevada County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to meet behind close doors Tuesday to consider a successor to county CEO Rick Haffey, and most people will be shocked if the job doesn’t go to current assistant CEO Alison Lehman.
The supervisors apparently haven’t looked at any outside candidates, and Haffey has recommended a successor. “I believe that the transition will be a smooth one,” Haffey told The Union last month, basing his statement on the supervisors’ response to his recommendation.
If Lehman gets the job, her appointment will continue a recent trend of promoting insiders–in a couple of cases, without even bothering to look at outside candidates. When John Foster retired as police chief, Grass Valley officials made it clear his successor would be one of two lieutenants in the department. The current city managers of Grass Valley and Nevada City were also appointed from inside.
Appointing insiders has the advantage of making a seamless transition to a new leader who can “hit the ground running.” It also increases the possibility the incumbent will stay for the duration instead of moving onto a new position in a couple of years, as was the case in the sudden departures of recent Grass Valley and Nevada City managers.
But it also means you’re more likely to get business as usual, particularly if the new person has never worked anywhere else. While there are a lot of people around here who don’t want to see any change, the world around us is changing rapidly and we’re going to have to adjust even if we don’t want to.
Haffey was the No. 2 guy in the Rood Center when he got the top spot almost 15 years ago, and it looks like Lehman is poised to follow in his footsteps. Supervisor Dan Miller appears to be onboard.
“Personally, I like to explore possible replacements in-house because the transition would be much more seamless, and an in-house candidate will typically have a very good understanding and knowledge of our community,” Miller emailed The Union.
Miller may also have in mind the reception he got from Lehman when he joined the board almost four years ago. Lehman was given the job of giving Miller a tour of county operations, and she reported at his swearing-in that he was a star student.
“I’m truly looking forward to having Dan on the board,” she said. “In getting to know him, it has become clear that he has a strong commitment to the community. He’ll be a welcome addition to the Nevada County Board of Supervisors. He’ll be an effective supervisor.”
That should be worth a vote in Lehman’s favor on Tuesday.