Ethics commission will hear Douglas complaint of possible conflict of interest |

Ethics commission will hear Douglas complaint of possible conflict of interest

by Christy Chalmers

The state ethics commission has scheduled a hearing on a Douglas County planning commissioner’s alleged failure to properly disclose a possible conflict of interest.

A letter dated June 30 says planning commissioner Devere Dressler may not have made a detailed enough disclosure at the proper time when the planning board discussed a special use permit for the Bing Materials pit in April. An Aug. 10 hearing is scheduled, according to the letter.

In a separate letter, District Attorney Scott Doyle called the complaint “speculative, without merit and an effort to apply (ethics law) in a manner never intended by the Nevada Legislature.”

Dressler could not be reached for comment.

The ethics review was sought by Robert Havranek, president of the Pleasantview Homeowners Association. The planning commission was considering a special use permit for the Bing pit, and several residents objected to approval of the permit.

Havranek says Dressler did not properly disclose his interest in a separate gravel pit that the Dressler family leases to another operator. Dressler did mention his connection to the family-owned pit during the hearing, and Douglas County Deputy District Attorney Robert Morris stated it was not a conflict of interest that would keep Dressler from voting.

In a letter to the ethics commission, Havranek contends that Dressler made the disclosure only after he was directly asked, and should not have voted on the issue. The planning commission voted 4-3 to approve the special use permit, and Dressler cast an affirmative vote.

Some opponents of the April 11 action objected based on evidence the Bing operators had not met terms of an earlier special use permit. In his letter to the ethics board, Havranek said Dressler could benefit from “lax enforcement of the special use permit and county code” and rejecting the Bing petition based on non-compliance “would set a precedent that could be used against his (Dressler’s) leased operations.”

In his letter, Doyle said Dressler has no financial interests whatsoever in the Bing pit or company, and the only pecuniary interest that could be inferred would have come had Dressler voted to restrict Bing’s permitted uses.