Residents lead charge to recall three Indian Hills trustees |

Residents lead charge to recall three Indian Hills trustees

by Christy Chalmers

Five residents are leading a campaign to recall three Indian Hills General Improvement District trustees.

After filing notices Monday morning of their intent to recall trustees Joanne Riekenberg, Renee Haskell and Dick Fairfax, the group issued a statement accusing the trio of “working at odds to what is in the best interests of the district as a whole” and bad judgment.

The trustees had mixed reactions.

“I love it. Let them try,” Riekenberg said tersely.

“Certain citizens don’t like the way the three of us are voting,” said Fairfax. “If it gets more people into the meetings, it’s wonderful.”

“They have the right to do that,” Haskell said.

Indian Hills resident Art Baer, who was joined by Betty Stellway, Richard Horn and Rhonda and Ken Pascoe in filing the recall plans, said 20 people are involved in the effort. Baer said their main complaint stemmed from a decision to postpone construction of a community and office complex at James Lee Park, which they said defies public opinion and surveys indicating the residents wanted to proceed.

More recently, the recall group’s statement alleges, the trustees “are leading Indian Hills GID into potential lawsuits” and “all three have created a hostile work environment.”

“I don’t know how else to correct this board of trustees,” said Baer. “There’s so many ugly messes coming to light, I think a couple of those board members belong in jail.”

Fairfax and Haskell said the accusations about the community center are unfair.

“We’re not opposed to it,” Fairfax said. “We want to know how to finance it. We haven’t voted it down. We voted it not at this time.”

Haskell said the three wanted more information on the costs residents would incur if a community center is built. She said the petitioners have a “special interest” in building a community center “regardless of the cost.”

“I’d like to have a Ferrari, but I can only afford a Ford,” said Haskell. “I’ll be more than happy to build anything if we can afford it. I don’t think the public realizes what it is going to cost them.”

The recall group said the district is vulnerable to lawsuits due to possible changes in employee benefits, despite what the district’s lawyer has advised, and employees are now asking for help from the Teamsters Union.

The trustees are scheduled to consider a letter from the union and a response at a meeting tonight.

Under Nevada law, the petitioners have 60 days to collect signatures from 25 percent of the people who voted in the last Indian Hills election. Clerk-Treasurer Barbara Reed said 216 signatures will be needed.

Once the signatures are verified, a special election could be set in August, Reed said.

Haskell began serving on the board in 1995, was elected in 1996 and faces reelection this year. Fairfax and Riekenberg were elected in 1998 and have more than two years remaining on their terms.