Planning commissioner files open meeting, ethics complaints
January 20, 2011
Douglas County Planning Commissioner Margaret Pross filed complaints with the Nevada Attorney General’s Office on Wednesday alleging violations of Nevada’s open meeting and ethics laws.
The complaints were filed in response to an effort on the part of Douglas County commissioners to remove her from the advisory board.
In her complaint, Pross said Commission Chairman Mike Olson told her a majority of county commissioners asked that she be removed from the planning commission after she’d written letters to the editor critical of Nancy McDermid and Lee Bonner and in support of Commissioner Dave Brady and candidate Lawrence Howell.
McDermid and Bonner won the seats on the commission.
In her complaint, Pross said Olson pressured her to resign from the planning commission in a Dec. 7 phone call.
“During that conversation, Chairman Michael Olson told me to resign from the planning commission or the commissioners would remove me during their January meeting as they had the three votes necessary to obtain my removal,” she said.
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In an interview published Jan. 14, Olson said that two separate commissioners had approached him about Pross’ letters.
Pross’ complaint to the Nevada Public Integrity Unit points to Olson’s effort to pressure her into resigning.
She accused Olson of using his position to coerce her into resigning.
“He unlawfully and maliciously oppressed and injured my rights as a U.S. citizen and he did so under the color of authority,” she said.
Pross said she and her family are concerned that there might be more retribution.
“I must stand up for my rights with the hope that no one else will have to experience the coercion and injustice that have been forced on me,” she said.
The Nevada Attorney General’s Office is in charge of enforcing the open meeting law. If after an investigation, the attorney general’s office determines there is a violation, the state will notify the commissioners to correct the action. If the county refuses, the next step is for the attorney general to file a lawsuit seeking a judicial order.