Police Chief Jason Soto named acting city manager

Published: Apr. 22, 2020 at 6:13 PM PDT
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The coronavirus and the scheduled departure of City Manager Sabra Newby created a problem for the Reno City Council and Wednesday afternoon they solved it -- at least temporarily.

The problem was conducting a nationwide search for a new city manager during a time of social distancing and travel restrictions. The solution: naming an interim manager. One name surfaced at a recent meeting: Police Chief Jason Soto. The idea took hold and as the council met--as they do these days--by remote, they made it official.

"We need someone who can really understand what type of demeanor (is needed)," said Mayor Hillary Schieve, "and also someone who is also used to dealing with constant emergency and crisis."

The vote was unanimous.

Soto, selected by the council as police chief five years ago, said he didn't seek the position and learned he was being discussed only after his name was mentioned at that meeting, but he said he was ready for the challenge.

"I suppose I have so much confidence in my staff and in my own ability to make decisions that I agreed in my own mind to take this on, temporarily."

Soto assumes the duties May 11 and will officially be named acting city manager when Newby leaves June 1.

He will remain police chief and will return to the department when his temporary job ends which could be as long as the six months limit set by the city charter.

He will name an acting chief to serve in his stead.

Copyright KOLO-TV 2020