Today’s article in the Teller caught my eye since the word of the day is leadership. Several weeks ago when I wrote the summary of the October 17, 2017 Storey County Commission meeting HERE , I noted that our commissioners had in prior commission meetings approved or been informed of county Manager Pat Whittens actions surrounding the payment of extra bonuses to at least two of his retiring friends. During the October 17 th meeting the commissioners , to a man, expressed shock and disapproval of those actions , claimed that they were not informed and threw Pat under the bus with vigor.
I noted at the time that either they were asleep at the wheel, in which case why are they in those jobs….or that they knew but didn’t WANT to know ……and why are they in those jobs. This weeks commission meeting agenda has two items dealing with Whittens actions in the paying of those bonuses. Just in reading them it looks like the commissioners will side step responsibility again.
Maybe not….we’ll know on Tuesday.
Among other things Leadership and Governance means paying attention to the details, digging and asking the right questions, setting expectations, holding people accountable and always asking “ what’s the right thing to do” for the community at large.
Leadership and Governance also means admitting when you’re wrong, taking that hit ….then fixing the problem. To date our county commissioners have not accepted responsibility for failing to adequately manage Pat Whitten as County Manager. This is just one instance. Sam Toll notes several more.
By Sam Toll
The Storey Teller
leadership |ˈlēdərˌSHip| noun
The action of leading a group of people or an organization: different styles of leadership. The state or position of being a leader: the leadership of the party.
[treated as singular or plural] the leaders of an organization, country, etc.: a change of leadership had become desirable.
The packet for the upcoming Storey County Commissioners Meeting was released last Thursday (and modified on Friday) and I had to raise my eyebrows as I read some of the agenda items.
I’ll post a preamble to the meeting and run down my take on some of the agenda items soon (if you just can’t wait you can see the packet for yourself here) as this meeting looks to be one of the more interesting meetings we have seen in quite some time.
A couple of the items got me thinking about the concept of leadership as it relates to Storey County Governance. In my mind, one of the most important roles of leadership is doing the right thing for the people you represent. Many of the pieces I post shine the light on the actions taken by Storey County Leadership that serve self and special interests at the expense of We The People.
I point out these actions and look at them through the lens of “Are They Doing The Right Thing?”
Let’s consider some of the events of this year and ask “Are They Doing The Right Thing?”
Cronyism initiated by Pat Whitten and approved by the County Commissioners.
Awarding an $11,345 monthly no-bid contract to Battle Born Consulting, aka Gary Hames, to run the “world class” Community Development Department, where he is learning on the job about structural and other types of integrity.
Awarding a $4500 monthly no-bid contract to Mike Nevin to oversee the installation of the Sewer Project when qualified candidates for the position of Public Works Director were passed over in favor of Jason Van Havel. These candidates could have overseen the Sewer project and run the Department without needing to feather the Nevin Nest with Taxpayer Money every month.
Giving out $70,000 retirement bonuses to Gary Hames and Dean Haymore in the form of PERS contract purchases.
Based on the contents of the aforementioned Commissioner Meeting Packet, the Commissioners appear to be shocked about the conduct of the County Manager. Yet they were at the same meetings I was at when they voted to approve every one of the above actions. Where were they? Were they asleep at the wheel? Part of responsible governance includes paying attention.
Real Estate Purchases
Purchasing and improving Real Estate in Virginia City while other areas of the County remain neglected and in need of urgent repairs like the Lockwood Bridge, the imaginary Virginia City Highlands Community Center, and Mark Twain Fire Department. While Storey County is in a unique position with respect to historic properties and has shown sober-minded leadership with the 4th Ward School, The Fire House Museum and St. Marys, they have shown questionable vision with the Black & Howell property, the Bank of America Building the Gold Hill Depot and the Camel Races Arena. This year they have busted out the county checkbook for property in Virginia City:
Pipers Opera House $360,000
The House between the Courthouse and Pipers – $385,000
Courthouse Parking Lot – $900,000
Threatening to use Eminent Domain to steal property from private land owners
The Commissioner Lance Gilman – TRIC Speical Interest merry-go-round that gives Mr. Gilman and TRIC access to the Storey County check book, tax coffers, real property and special consideration regarding rules and regulations.
Saddling Storey County Taxpayers with a $35 Million dollar effluent pipeline connecting TRIC tenants to the “liquid gold” effluent from Sparks. This pipeline will divert a million dollars per year of potential tax revenue from the General Fund for the next 30 years.
Repeatedly reconveying Storey County property to TRIC with zero consideration or payment that TRIC has turned around and included the free property into lucrative land deals, including the one that gave a portion of the USA Parkway to TRIC (for free) which Mr. Gilman and TRIC turned around and sold to NDOT for $43 Million Dollars (without giving us a single penny or paying down the $47 Million Dollar Storey County Credit Card balance).
Allowing the Mustang Ranch to illegally operate for decades on property zoned for Agricultural use.
Allowing an illegal multi-family dwelling for Mr. Gilman and Mr. Thompson to claim as their residence.
Failing to require Mr. Gilman to reside in the district he represents within Storey County.
The Recall Election of Sheriff Antinoro.
Finally, consider people in Storey County employ who signed the recall petition. While it is their legal right to sign the petition, what does their signature say about their impartiality and moral responsibility to do the right thing? Was this the right thing to do? Only Commissioner McBride considered the community before petty grievances and did not sign the petition.
Do The Right Thing
The question we should all be asking of Pat Whitten and our Commissioners every day is “Are you doing the right thing by all the citizens of Storey County.”
If the answer is yes, then let’s cheerfully sign up for more of the same heaping helping of leadership we have enjoyed (endured) this year.
If the answer is no, it’s up to We The People find us some new faces with fresh eyes.
The countdown to the Primary Election is underway.