Minden engineer agrees to settle with state board
A Minden engineer will have to undergo open meeting law training and pay $6,014 in investigative costs and hearing fees after entering into a settlement with the Nevada State Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors.
Rob Anderson of R.O. Anderson agreed to a settlement of accusations brought by Douglas County Manager Larry Werner last summer.
Anderson was involved in the filing of an ethics complaint against Planning Manager Hope Sullivan in connection with the debate over a hotly contested gravel mining operation proposed by Douglas County Sewer District No. 1.
The sewer district processes all the sewage for Lake Tahoe and pipes it into the Pine Nuts, where it currently shares winter storage with Minden Gardnerville Sanitation District.
Anderson is accused of telling the district board in February 2016 that a third party, Gardnerville chiropractor Don Miner, independently filed the complaint.
“Respondent has admitted that he was involved in filing of the ethics complaint at issue and compensated the party who filed the ethics complaint,” according to the stipulation.
An advisory committee to the state board found that while a violation of the state advisory code may have occurred, formal disciplinary action was not recommended due to the settlement.
The ethics complaint against Sullivan was found to be groundless by the Nevada Ethics Commission. She left her position with Douglas County shortly after the complaint was filed and was hired by Carson City.
The sewer district proposed mining gravel to subsidize construction of a new sewer pond in the foothills of the Pine Nuts. Initial approval of the project by planning commissioners in late 2015 resulted in an election-style campaign with yard signs and a web site devoted to opposing the project. The specter of gravel trucks traversing Carson Valley’s back roads drove much of the opposition.
The district came back to planning commissioners with a new route that would avoid many of the previously included back roads, but the planning commission denied the request.
The district still requires county commissioners’ approval to mine gravel.
Tapes played at a public meeting called by Douglas County District Attorney Mark Jackson in May 2016 revealed the sewer district board members seeking leverage on county commissioners to get approval of the project.
Jackson pointed out that no one on the board had stood for public election to the office. The district was formed in such a way that the chief operators of the Lake Tahoe casinos would also serve as board members.
That structure is the subject of a bill at the Legislature to alter the district to the more typical structure, where trustees are elected by residents.