County Commissioners Slosh Money Around Like Drunken Sailors
The last Storey County Commission meeting was remarkable in a couple of ways. First, Commissioners McBride and McGuffey parlayed away our future by giving billion dollar global companies $22 million. Second, in what was unquestionably the worst job performance review I have ever seen ended in a $100,000 “bonus” for Pat Whitten. Commissioner McGuffey firmly cemented his legacy as perhaps the worst Commissioner we have the misfortune of seeing when he chose to approve the effluent pipeline “deal”. Readers of The Teller will remember this pipeline proposal received nearly uniform opposition from the public.
The Teller, along with Commissioner-elect Jay Carmona, collected over a hundred signatures protesting the pipeline in 2017. The Teller also collected over a hundred signatures against the pipeline with Commission candidate Nicole Barde during the campaign trail. Five people were on the record as supporting the pipeline. Yet Commissioner McGuffey was content to solidify his legacy with cement boots by voting to commit $22 million in future tax revenue to repay billion dollar global companies and multi-million dollar developers for the pipeline.
Saint, President or Both?
As bad as the white collar welfare handout was, the performance review of Pat Whitten was even worse. I conducted perhaps a thousand employee reviews, and this was the worst I’ve seen by far. To begin with, it is clear that the commissioners didn’t read the packet and prepare for this part of the agenda. If they had, they would have taken the time to fill out the review sections and spared us the embarrassment. I’ll give Planning Director, Assistant County Manager, Public Information Officer, Chef, Bottle Washer and Human Resource Manager Austin Osborne blame for this epic fail as well. Had Osborne prepped the Commissioners and displayed a whisper of Human Resource leadership here, this wouldn’t have been the cluster it was.
In a display of cringeworthy clumsiness usually reserved for teenage virgins, the Commissioners took turns smothering County Manager Whitten with accolades, praise and straight up man-love. After nearly two hours of the commissioners stroking and suckling Whitten, I got up during public comment and remarked that I wasn’t sure if Whitten should take the reins from President Trump or sit next to Mother Theresa in the Hall of Saints.
At Least $100,000, Maybe More
Nearing the end of the passionate Whitten love-festival, Austin Osborne suggested the Commissioners give Whitten a salary adjustment of $61,000 for somehow being shorted money over the last 5 years. Despite being the highest paid county employee this year, and having his salary throttled by NRS statute, Osborne felt his boss was slighted to the tune of $12,000 a year over the past 5 years because he couldn’t get another raise. In a move of taxpayer generosity, Commissioner Gilman saw Osborne’s $60,000 and raised it another $40,000 piling up a cool $100k onto the Shrine of Whitten. Commissioner McGuffey poured a couple more shovels of cement into his legacy boots as he suggested they (and by they, he meant we the taxpayers) should reward Whitten with “at least $100,000, maybe more”. The payola could be deposited into Whitten’s PERS account, into a deferred retirement account or cold hard cash, depending on Whitten’s preference.
To his credit, Commissioner McBride revealed a hidden glimmer of credibility by saying he was opposed to any form of bonuses for government employees. He then did something I have never witnessed since returning home in 2106; he cast an un-unanimous vote. I nearly passed out.
For those who don’t read BardeBlog, Nicole Barde’s recount of this embarrassment is worth reading. Here is her preamble:
CONGRATULATIONS TO MARK OSMER AND CAROL MALEY OF THE VIRGINIA CITY RV PARK FOR WINNING BUSINESS OF THE YEAR!!
THEY APPROVED THE TAX INCREMENT AREA. A FREE RIDE FOR M/BILLION DOLLAR CORPORATIONS BUT NOT FOR YOU OR ME
WE NARROWLY MISSED A “ WE HAVE TO PASS IT TO KNOW WHAT’S IN IT” MOMENT ON A COUPLE OF TIA RELATED AGENDA ITEMS
IN A DISPLAY OF TRUTH BUT NO CONSEQUENCES COUNTY MANAGER PAT WHITTEN GOT A GLOWING PERFORMANCE REVIEW FROM THE COMMISSION AND A $100K BONUS! NO MENTION OF THE INCONVENIENT TRUTH THAT PAT WHITTEN GAVE AWAY $217K IN UNAPPROVED BONUSES TO THE HIGHEST PAID RETIRING COUNTY EMPLOYEES