Open meeting dispute prompts lawsuit | RecordCourier.com

Open meeting dispute prompts lawsuit

by Susie Vasquez

Douglas County filed a lawsuit in Carson City’s First Judicial District Court against Nevada, various state boards and Attorney General Brian Sandoval after that office said Douglas County officials violated the Open Meeting Law.

The suit was filed Sept. 3.

“The Attorney General’s pattern is to complete an investigation after the time for prosecution has lapsed, then issue a written opinion that the local official has broken the law,” said a press release from the Douglas County District Attorney’s office. “The Attorney General decides public officials have broken the law without giving local officials any opportunity to defend themselves.”

Douglas County resident Bob Allgeier filed a complaint against the commissioners in early June after Commissioner Jacques Etchegoyhen asked other commissioners to consider funding for the W.B. Park property on the east fork of the Carson River.

Etchegoyhen was a land use consultant for the park.

Following instructions from District Attorney Scott Doyle, Etchegoyhen abstained from the vote and the measure passed, but Deputy Attorney General Neil Rombardo said the item was not agendized.

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The incident occurred at a February commissioner’s meeting and Allgeier, a Douglas County commissioner from 1992 to 1996, sent his complaint to the Attorney General’s office in June,106 days after the commission’s action.

“At the same time he has ignored numerous continual violations by state boards,” the press release said.

The Board of Examiners, for example, approved 155 contracts totalling over $268,000 without describing any of the goods or services that were being purchased by the state. This violates the notice requirements the attorney general has placed on local governments, the press release said.

The State of Nevada, together with the State Boards of Examiners, Agriculture, Cosmetology, the Department of Public Safety, the Nevada Bicycle Advisory Board and Sandoval are listed as defendants in the suit.

Susie Vasquez can be reached at svasquez@recordcourier.com or 782-5121, ext. 213.