Charles McNeely Leaving Reno

3/19/09 - MCNEELY LEAVING RENO - Reno City Manager Charles McNeely is leaving his 14-year post with the city of Reno to take the same job with the city of San Bernardino, California.
McNeely has served as Reno City Manager since March of 1996 and has been at the helm overseeing a number of major achievements for the City of Reno including the ReTRAC project, Century Riverside Theater, Riverside Artists Lofts, Parking Gallery, 10 North Virginia Street Plaza, the Whitewater Park, Events Center, Ballroom, Community Assistance Center, West Street Market and Triple-A Baseball.  At Council's direction he also sought to improve customer service and citizen participation through programs such as Reno Direct, Reno Connect, Reno Citizens Institute, Neighborhood Advisory Boards and The Permit Place. McNeely's passion for Blues genre music resulted in the culmination of a yearly two day blues festival in Reno and the non-profit organization, The Reno-Tahoe Blues Festival.  He serves as the President of the organization which has brought the most award winning blues artists each year to Rancho San Rafael Park. The festival will mark its fifth year on August 15 and 16 of this year. 
He won't leave Reno for another 60 days, which gives the city time to launch the search for a replacement. Thoughts? So far, the commenters over at RGJ don't seem very sad to see the guy leave. Can someone fill me in on what the controversy is with Charles? Is it that he is so highly paid? Is it that he's leaving the city at the very bad time?
I watched a lot of council meetings, and he never said anything that irked me or rubbed me the wrong way.


Post your comments
Posted by: Devin Sommerton - 3/20/2009 8:46:41 AM
I don't have a problem with Charles. I would liek to know too why everyone hates this guy.

Posted by: city employee - 3/20/2009 9:31:51 AM
perhaps because "making it great" never seemed to have any relation to making the organization great or more professional.

Posted by: Pauline - 3/20/2009 9:46:03 AM
Hi DTM guy. The anger towards Charles McNeely is mostly internalized. The public never saw what went on behind closed doors, including you. He is a very, very, very difficult man to work for. Very very difficult. He is abrasive, talks down to people, and makes one feel like a speck of dust in a giant desert. To the public, he may have done his job well, but to those of us who worked with him, we're all too eager to see him go. It's his amanagement style. I think this city can do better.

Posted by: James S - 3/20/2009 9:59:54 AM
That's what I like about this site, you see someone being kicked and you rush in to give an alternate differing opinion. However in Charlie's case, the kicking is well deserved. Only those that have worked with him understand the pain San Berdardino will soon feel. He may do his job adequately, but god forbid if you are in the same dept as him.

Posted by: CitizenX - 3/20/2009 12:28:20 PM
Mikey Mikey Mikey. To my fellow city workers who commonly read this blog, please forgive Mike for that little blunder. The thing is, Charles is an ass. Hard to work with, hard to deal with. His management style leaves something to be desired. He wrongly injected many of his own self interests into his job. Like the blues festival. On the outside he looked like he did a great job, but at the huge cost of inefficiency on the inside.

Posted by: boyle - 3/20/2009 3:05:58 PM
He sounds a lot like Roger Moorhead, the Respiratory chef at Renown.....not well liked at all....not at all.

Posted by: disgruntled taxpayer - 3/20/2009 6:38:44 PM
Itotally agree with negative comments so far. Charles started out good...but quickly learned to give the downtown casinos whatever they wanted with NO regard for costs to the community. Thank God, he's leaving town. But, it may be too late. Our financial problems have more to do with runaway spending for the past 10 years than on the current economy. And Charles won't be around to see the fiasco the baseball stadium will turn out to be!

Posted by: john - 3/22/2009 10:31:12 AM
management style: classic petty bully with an extreme dose of narcissism. yes, he did do an effective job of carrying out city council directives, which is basically all the public sees. Yet, what was the true cost to the city ? Consider how many talented individuals left because they were tired of getting petty bullying. City council, are you listening ?

Posted by: Another City Employee - 3/23/2009 1:24:24 PM
Charles is considered one of the best City Managers in the country. I hope his replacement isn't a wimp who is all touchy feely. Charles has a strong management style, and if you're not cutting it; he let's you know. We need someone who can stand up to our city council, like Charles did. As an insider I can tell you that at least two of them are clueless and think they can run Reno better.

Posted by: Anakin-Marc - 3/24/2009 4:51:21 AM
People talk about how demanding and pushy Charles was as a city manager. While people may not like that, sometimes it's the way things have to happen to get done, especially in an otherwise buerocratic environment like any government entity. From what's being said by insiders about Charles, another *very* famous and successful manager comes to mind: Steve Jobs. He is known in the industry for being a tyrant. It's his way or no way, and the Board knows it. Before Steve's return to Apple, the company was on the brink of bankrupcy. Since his return, the company has made leaps and bounds, and is now at the front of the pack in its field. Weak personalities don't belong in upper management. Unfortunetally, that sometimes means stepping on a few toes...

Posted by: city employee - 3/24/2009 12:34:10 PM
no one is arguing for a "weak" management style. you can be directed without being a petty narcissistic bully. you can be directed without all the blatant favoritism that has been evident.. mysteriously, his "executive secretary" gets put in line for a 90k salary via a "class and compensation study" ? Bull crap. This isn't true professionalism. Who defines that he's one of the better managers in the country ?

Posted by: Fireman - 3/24/2009 7:29:02 PM
As a public servant I am glad to see him go. He may have accomplished some of the things that will make this city a better place (independent of gaming). However, in the process he has systematically destroyed the confidence in most of the City Employees that must work with or for him. Just in the Fire Department, he has sold off a perfectly good firehouse and then BORROWED 6 million to build 2 mobile homes with tents. He had to bypass the first two candidates for fire Chief until he could find one that was willing to unscrupuously violate contracts, discriminate and openly state that fire protection would be the same without a Downtown firehouse. All this on mcneely's marching orders. I agree with my other coworkers; just because you got the job done doesn't obsolve the fact that you treated everyone like $%^& to do it. And then take a bonus for it. No love loss here. Goodbye & good luck--to San Bernadino.

Posted by: Reno Navy Guy - 3/31/2009 4:28:03 PM
I think it was time for the City Manager to depart. In fact, he probably should have left when the current Mayor was elected. He did not strike me as someone that was very productive or well liked at City council meetings and I wasn't impressed with his attitude. He wore out his welcome in my opinion and the city needs new blood to come in and get things going in the right direction.

Posted by: Stan - 1/4/2010 2:39:06 PM
McNeely wore out his welcome right off. One of the first things he tried to do was abolish the civil service system so he would have control over who was hired rather than having to put up with a system of testing and experience to find qualified employees. Fortunately, civil service is part of the city charter and the voters rejected attempts to do away with it.


© 2018 Downtownmakeover except otherwise noted in credits
Back to Top