Commission needs to step up
Having served as an elected official in Douglas County for 18 years, I am compelled to share my observations and suggestions with the community regarding the behavior and actions of our current county commission.
With the advent of a new year, Douglas County ushered in three new county commissioners to join two with only two years of experience on the board.
The board’s first order of business was to elect Commissioner John Engels as the chairman, someone who had been involved in both a physical altercation with another commissioner in the year prior, as well as multiple verbal altercations with members of the public.
If recent events are any indication, this year portends to be difficult and challenging for this decision-making body. The meetings appear to be disorderly, confusing, and unprofessional to say the least. The chair has failed to follow parliamentary procedure by quickly dismissing speakers during public comment, which prohibits Douglas County citizens from participating in county government, and it is a potential violation of the open meeting law.
Moreover, verbal exchanges between certain commissioners appear confrontational with the absence of any order or decorum. As a result of this behavior, the public is losing confidence in the board’s ability to conduct its business in an orderly, timely, and fair manner.
Not so coincidently, the opportunity for the board to review its role and function, the strategic plan and other visioning documents, as well as be introduced to the board norms and procedures, was pulled from the board agenda at the first commissioners’ meeting in January.
Norms and procedures (Resolution No.2017R-017) clearly define the roles of the chair and the commissioners as it relates to conduct in general, and how commissioners will conduct themselves with each other, with staff, and with the public.
Section IV No. 1 of the resolution requires that all commissioners treat everyone with "courtesy and respect," while No. 2 states that inappropriate behavior is "derogatory and damages the perception of the county.”
Unfortunately, that "damaged perception" has already permeated public awareness in Douglas County and surrounding communities. As the saying goes, "good news travels fast, bad news even faster."
The Douglas County Board of Commissioners has a moral obligation to the public they serve to conduct themselves in a professional manner, to be prepared to make critical, data-driven decisions, and to treat all individuals with dignity and respect.
It is imperative that the board review the content of the norms and procedures in its entirety. A commitment to each other and to the public they serve to adhere to both the spirit and letter of the document should be the minimum by which the board members conduct themselves.
Time to step up and act accordingly.
Don’t blame businesses
As the days tick closer to May 1, the “mask mandate” issue is once again trending. There seems to be misinformation as to what will transpire on a county level effective May 1 when the state of Nevada relinquishes enforcement to the county and local government level.
Many residents are encouraging the board to create a resolution that aligns with such resolutions Lyon County, White Pine County, Eureka County, Elko County and Nye County have adopted declaring an economic state of emergency. These resolutions simply allow businesses to determine whether and how to implement certain practices as they see fit and allow local law enforcement and governing agencies to use their discretion not to enforce or respond to complaints related to violations of the emergency directives; however, these resolutions do not authorize businesses or private citizens to cease following emergency directives or CDC recommended practices.
Truth of the matter is if we want the current state of emergency mandates and restrictions decided and enforced on a county/local level, the state of emergency declared by the governor must be lifted. In this legislative session, Assemblyman Jim Wheeler introduced AB 93 as an effort to have the governor’s declaration of disaster limited to 15 days without its continuance authorized by legislation.
As long as the state is under Gov. Sisolak’s state of emergency, the mandates supersede anything we resolve at a local, county level. As a manager of four locations of fitness facilities (Gardnerville, Fernley, Yerington and Reno) two of our locations in Lyon County are affected by the recently adopted revolution resolution. I can personally attest to how dangerous this confusion can be in the business community.
Our employees are commonly berated for enforcing the mandates when patrons enter our businesses. These mandates are not our decisions, and our personal feelings are irrelevant. We choose to abide by them in order to stay open and conduct business without further repercussions of financial hardships an imposed fine(s) would result in.
I am confident our local leaders and enforcement agencies, with consideration of the public’s input gathered during open community forums, will create guidelines for business and residents that will ensure our economic recovery. In the meantime, support small business by shopping local and hopefully we will see everyone’s smiling faces again soon.
Regional Manager Kudrna Inc
Board of Directors Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce
Mask resolution wouldn’t carry any weight
My fellow commissioners and I are getting daily calls and emails regarding our governor’s mandates in relationship to the COVID-19 pandemic and requesting the passage of a resolution similar to those passed by other rural counties within our state that would declare our county to be a “Covid Mandate Sanctuary County.”
I cannot speak for any other commissioner; however, I want to assure you I share the “COVID fatigue” many of you are experiencing within Douglas County. I also am aware that the efficacy of masks is highly questionable. Still, in my view, following these mandates is a matter of personal choice and the personal responsibility we each have regarding our own health.
Please note that while a resolution might offer a sense of renewed freedom, it would carry no weight in either preventing enforcement of the governor’s mandates, nor would it carry any weight in regulating what a business within our county may require its customers do as preventative measures for COVID-19, including the wearing of masks and the need to social distance.
Many businesses within our county have expressed to me that they intend to continue for some time to follow CDC guidelines regarding what they have determined to be mitigation efforts to protect their employees, and I respect that decision.
It is my feeling that government, local, state, and federal, should attempt to stay out of telling our businesses how to operate as much as possible. Many businesses have stated for years that if a patron is not wearing shoes or a shirt they will refuse service. If they now wish to extend that, for whatever purpose, to the wearing of masks, that is a decision they as a business owner have the right to make. We, as patrons, then have the decision to make as to whether we choose to patronize that business.
Our governor has indicated he is planning on relinquishing enforcement of “his” mandates on May 1 to our local jurisdiction. That is good news. The county will continue educating the public as to the benefits of practicing proper health protocols of people washing their hands on a regular basis and staying home when they are feeling ill for whatever reason. Of course, now that we are in the spring allergy season, we need not automatically fear that someone sneezing near us is spreading COVID.
I appreciate the opportunity to serve you as a commissioner and welcome your comments.
Topaz Ranch Estates
More about the wearer than the hat
Regarding Danna Meyer’s congoing contretemps regarding Douglas County Commissioner John Engels’ wearing a hat while in Board Chambers: I was amused to read Meyer’s letter to the editor (April 1) calling for “… put(ting) this ridiculous, malicious derision to bed.” Yet, she’s the one who started this squabble and apparently insists on having the last word.
Meyer says she had consulted the Emily Post Etiquette website to determine the circumstances for when men should, or should not, wear a hat. Armed with the information she gleaned from the nation’s premier authority on decorum, Meyer seemed to think this gave her enforcement powers to publicly call out a hat violation perpetrator. Maybe Meyer could tell us what Emily Post has to say about the narrow-mindedness of picking a fight at an official government proceeding over a truly trivial issue.
The 2021 Board of County Commissioners term adds a second hat wearer, Commissioner Mark Gardner, who favors western wear that includes what appears to be a Stetson. At no time in any of the BOCC meetings to date that I have observed has Meyer weighed in on Gardner’s hat. Is it possible that the hat issue was merely an excuse that allowed Meyer to harass a commissioner whose politics she disagreed with?
When we allow our religious faith, morals, values, culture and our history to be marginalized, we regress into internal conflict: race against race, haves against have nots, as we cede control of our lives from the banking system, communication, transportation, education, and healthcare to the government.
Politicians already decide in some states, like New York, who lives and dies. The Democrat Party is working feverishly to make the United States a totalitarian country in which they will decide who flourishes and who lives in misery and poverty.
Look carefully at the legislation they're passing and compare it to "The Communist Manifesto" by Marx and Engels.
All dogs go to heaven
My little dog, Niles, age six, died Feb. 16. He suffered stroke symptoms, having had seizures for about three years; the meds eventually stopped working to lessen the frequency.
I stayed with him while he passed, apologizing, crying, telling him it would be all right; he would suffer no more. For three years, he would sit on my bed, looking at me while hearing me recite (in his imagined voice) Novenas to St. Anthony, St. Jude, and pray to St. Francis to lessen his seizures. (At first, he ate part of my St. Anthony card.)
Dr. Warner and Rachel did their best, but Niles could not fight anymore. I held his paw and stayed alone with him a long time. Finally, my tears stopped from gently feeling a love presence between us — like his soul leaving, and perhaps part staying with mine.
Any death reminds us of all who have left our lives — recently or a long time ago. But God never takes away their love for us and our love for them.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled…If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” John: 14:2.
Debra B. Cutshaw