County responds to grand jury
Two weeks after Douglas County grand jurors issued their March 21 report, county officials’ formal response to the $1 million Tiregate thefts will be presented on Thursday.
County Manager Larry Werner agreed with three-quarters of the two-dozen recommendations made by the grand jury.
One of the recommendations in the grand jury report, adding auditor to the recorder’s duties, may only be done in counties with fewer than 45,000 people.
The county offices of clerk and treasurer were combined in the 19th Century.
Besides the recorder-auditor, the only other issue Werner had with the report was the creation of an internal budget committee.
He said that function is being handled by the county’s internal review committee, which includes the county manager, the chief deputy district attorney, the human resources director and the chief financial officer.
“The function of the (committee) is to review all personnel requests, budget transfers and budget augmentations,” Werner said. “The actions of the committee are recorded and provided to the board as well as being published on the county’s intranet.”
On Tuesday, Commissioner Barry Penzel credited Werner for starting the investigation after the thefts were uncovered.
“The county manager has taken some real heat because of Tiregate,” Penzel said. “I believe in my heart that if we had not had Larry Werner, the person who came forward would not have come forward.”
Penzel said it was the employee’s faith in Werner that resulted in the revelation of the tire thefts.
“It was because of Larry’s relationship with the employees that he was able to obtain the confidence of person who identified this as a problem,” Penzel said. “Paying attention to what that gentlemen had to say, and instituting an investigation that day are some of the key facts missing in this whole process.”
The Nevada Division of Investigation is conducting a criminal probe into the thefts, which were not limited to tires, but included other motor pool items.
Douglas County District Attorney Mark Jackson is also conducting an internal investigation.
Commissioners meet 10:30 a.m. Thursday at the County Courthouse.