EnEarl resigns as public administrator
Less than a week after her husband resigned as East Fork Justice of the Peace, Douglas County Public Administrator Lynn EnEarl has resigned effective Dec. 1.
EnEarl, 59, denied her resignation had to do with the recent controversy over her public guardianship.
“No, this is all about family,” she said. “Our daughters and grandchildren live here. It’s almost like a job. It takes time to take care of family.”
EnEarl, who filed for re-election in March, is facing Independent American Sam Dupuis in the Nov. 2 general election.
EnEarl said that when she filed for re-election, it was her intention to hold the office.
“I signed up with every intention of running for office,” she said. “This might sound strange, but I enjoy what I do. I feel I do make a difference in people’s lives. It was a real tough decision.”
But with her husband, Justice of the Peace Jim EnEarl, leaving office, she said she felt it was time to focus on her family.
“Since my husband’s retirement, I’ve been seriously thinking about what is important in life,” she said. “My mother-in-law has Alzheimer’s and her health is deteriorating. It’s difficult for my husband to take care of her on his own.”
EnEarl said there are some probate cases she needs to complete.
“I’m working extremely hard hoping to get all of this accomplished,” she said.
County officials are not releasing EnEarl’s letter of resignation, saying that it contains personal information.
County spokeswoman Lisa Granahan, who said she hasn’t seen the letter, confirmed that it had been received by the county manager’s office.
EnEarl has come under fire for her work as the county’s public guardian. As public administrator, EnEarl controls estates of county residents who die without a will. She also serves as the guardian for residents who’ve been judged incompetent, but don’t have someone else to make decisions for them.
Under Nevada law, EnEarl is required to report on each of her charges’ personal and financial welfare to the district court. Senior advocates reviewing the case files said the reports were not completed. EnEarl’s attorney, Michael Rowe, said that in some cases the court waived the annual reports, though advocates were unable to find written waivers.
A score of EnEarl’s guardian cases are passing through the district courts now to bring those reports up to date. In two cases, wards were placed in more restrictive care facilities than required by their condition.
During one hearing, EnEarl said she didn’t meet with her wards because she’s not a confrontational person. She was ordered by District Judge Dave Gamble to meet with her charges on a monthly basis.
In some of the cases, the wards said they’d never met EnEarl until they were in court.
Because her resignation isn’t effective until after the election, EnEarl will be on the ballot in November.
District Attorney Mark Jackson said Thursday the county can’t start looking for a replacement for EnEarl until her resignation is effective.
“It’s effective on the specific date and time that the elected official states he or she is resigning,” he said. “That elected official can withdraw the resignation letter any time up to and including the time the resignation is effective.”
Jackson said the appointment of a new public administrator, if required, would go before county commissioners in January.”
“If Mrs. EnEarl resigns Dec. 1, the office would be vacant for the month of December,” he said. “The matter of accepting the resignation and filling the vacancy would need to be agendized and come before the board in January.”
EnEarl’s opponent, Dupuis, said he filed for the office so he could talk to voters about the Independent American Party.
“The two-party system we have is why we’ve gotten where we are today,” he said.
Dupuis, 84, said if EnEarl is going to resign, he was going to do his best to win the office.
“I’d better get it in gear and get elected,” he said.
He has run unsuccessfully for public administrator and county commissioner on previous occasions.
News Editor Sheila Gardner contributed to this story.