September 30, 2022
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Jan Baum chosen to be Elko city manager | Government and Politics

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ELKO – The Elko City Council unanimously approved financial director Jan Baum as the new city manager effective Feb. 1.

Baum, who has worked with the City for nearly three years, told the council on Tuesday she was “ready to get going” with the transition.

Current City Manager Curtis Calder, who is retiring on Baum’s first day, said he would prepare her for the job as well as conduct a search for a new financial director.

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

“Jan Baum meets all the qualifications listed in the job description, and my recommendation hasn’t changed,” he added. “I think Jan will make a great city manager for the city council. I would recommend the council appoint her to the city manager effective Feb. 1, 2022.”

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

Mayor Reece Keener said he supported Baum’s appointment, stating that he has “all the confidence in the world in Jan.”

Born and raised in Montana, Baum made her home in Elko after graduating from Montana State University with a degree in accounting in 1991. She said all of her family in Montana has since relocated to the area. Her husband is a native of 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 to LP Insurance. She also did the same with Eklund Drilling and brought them through their acquisition to Boart Longyear.

Looking back over her career, she said all of her jobs in the private sector helped as she transitioned to overseeing the City’s finances, having some prior background in governmental accounting. At McMullen McPhee, she was working as an auditor and doing taxes.

“It was a great learning experience,” she recalled. “I was developing budgets and going through audits.”

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

He promised the city council he would oversee the transition for the next city manager. Calder suggested three options for his replacement: a direct appointment of 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 an additional few months of training before his official retirement date.

“She sees the financial side of it, but not the operational side of things,” he said, pointing to her experience with higher-level finances, airport grants, audits and budgets.

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

“Jan has some very strong skills being the 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 the entire city staff to help with the transition period.”

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

Morris praised Baum for her knowledge and “good people skills,” with Puccinelli stating that 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.”

Working for the City for the past three years as financial director, she explained she had gained perspective of all the departments at City Hall. “I’m constantly visiting with all the managers and directors, sitting down with them in person to learn about their challenges and their staffing.”

“It gives you the perspective of where the challenges and opportunities are in the City and gives you the insight into every single department,” Baum continued. “I think it gives you a good base, and I think it also helps with problem-solving.”

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

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

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



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