Officials told not to comment on Tiregate
County officials said Tuesday they were instructed not to publicly discuss the theft of more than $1 million from the motor pool over 10 years.
“We were told not to discuss it,” Commissioner Barry Penzel said on Tuesday. “That doesn’t mean we enjoyed it and doesn’t mean we were hoping it would go away and that we weren’t interested.”
Genoa resident Mary Hartman said that despite the thefts commonly referred to as Tiregate, the county hired a chief financial officer and renewed the county manager’s contract.
The county opened an investigation into the thefts in March 2017, but did not reveal the investigation until six months later.
Penzel didn’t duck the commission’s responsibility in the issue.
“We as a board are responsible, we as a board, and I in particular, feel that responsibility,” he said. “The anger and angst that we get in this regard is appropriately placed. We are the responsible party. And we should be able to come up with systems that don’t allow for people who are weak to take advantage of them.”
Penzel said that as much as he’d like to, there is no way to hurry the state investigation into the thefts.
“I can’t get the Nevada Department of Investigations or the district attorney to do their job any quicker,” he said. “I’m not happy with it, and I don’t think anybody on the board is happy with it.”
In response to commissioners’ comments on Monday, staff members brought more detail to Tuesday’s budget hearing.
“This is one of the reasons I’ve been pushing for more detail in the budget process and some history,” Commissioner Dave Nelson said. “We do need to do a better job of looking into this as your county commission.”
Nelson said he was upset that someone from the board told grand jurors that $400,000 isn’t that much money.
“I don’t think $400,000 is a just drop in the bucket,” he said.
Commissioner Larry Walsh agreed both on the comment and the detail, saying it didn’t matter if it was $400,000 or $400.
“We received a lot of detail this morning,” he said on Tuesday. “It’s difficult to go through this stuff, but we’ll try. I am absolutely intent on getting more detail so we can make logical and good decisions on the board.”