Or, Having Friends In High Places Is Better Than Talent In Storey County
I tell people I run a news site that focuses on, among other things, the political apparati of Storey County. I like say I am always busy and never surprised by the lengths and depths our fearless leaders will go to stretch the elastic boundaries of our credulity.
Life is, at times, real, unreal, surreal. Here in “The Richest Place On Earth” things sometimes get “Storey County Real”.
Gentle readers may remember The Teller vigorously opposed the appointment of Good Ol’ Boy (GOB) Gary Hames to the position of Community Development Director. Many people in the community shook their collective heads when Pat Whitten decided to reward his friend Gary Hames (and his other friend Mike Nevin (who wrote his own bonus) and Dean Haymore) with $75,000 of taxpayer money as a “retirement bonus”.
GOB’s Retire In Style
Days later, the County threw a massive retirement party for GOB Dean Haymore. The party was in recognition for legendary performance as Community Development Director and held at the County’s Gold Hill Depot property. Hundreds of people attended the celebration, complete with a live band, a huge spread complete with cake and ice cream. Bum Hess, Lance the Magnificent, Austin Osborne, and many others paid tribute to this retiring member of the elite inner circle of friends.
Rather than throwing a party for Mike and Gary, the county did them one better. Pat Whitten extending his friend’s employment while allowing them both to collect retirement by awarding them no-bid contracts of $4500 and $11,354 respectively. Since they were not really retiring, the brain trust agreed the party for the other two GOBs would have to wait until they actually retired.
On April 21st Storey County frogmarched Gary Hames out of the office without the customary fanfare afforded a member of the Royal Family. They changed the locks and forwarded his email to acting director Martin Azevedo. He was, um, you know,like fired. Meanwhile, those left standing inside Community Development department immediately had a cake, ice cream, Jello shots, and Jägermeister party that lasted three days. Unimpressed, District Attorney Anne Langer borrowed Agent 99’s cone of silence and quickly erected an impenetrable stonewall around the controversy. The silence surrounding the details of Gary Hames firing continues to keep the event shrouded in mystery. Exactly how they like it here in Storey County.
County Spin Doctors Activate Beast Mode
In one of the more unreal, surreal, Storey County real moments in recent memory, the County swivel-heads spun this 23-month disaster with a warm fuzzy coating of sunshine and lollypops.
Below find the transcription of item 33 from the agenda of the May 21st Storey County Commission.
Read and cringe, gentle reader, read and cringe:
Assistant District Attorney Keith Loomis: Storey County has a contract with Battle Born Services LLC to provide leadership and reorganization of the Community Development Department. That contract is terminable at will upon 30 days written notice by one party to the other or either party. At this time those services are no longer being provided, and it looks like, uh, Battle Born has done a pretty good job of reorganizing the department to the point where the services may not be needed any further, so the question for the, uh, board right now is whether or not it’s time to terminate that contract.
Storey Commission Chairman Marshall McBride: Thank you. All right. Jay do you have any questions or concerns on this item?
Storey County Commissioner Jay Carmona: I do. Is there somebody that is taking his place, Keith, or is that, is that going to be vacant?
Loomis: I think at this point it’s that, uh, it’s going remain vacant because the department has been reorganized to such an extent it’s kind of self-operating. That’s my understanding at this point. It’s not a done deal and I’m not in charge of that.
Carmona: Is Martin not filling in?
Loomis: He is filling in.
Carmona: Ok, so it isn’t vacant?
Loomis: No, he is the temporary acting director of the Community Development Department.
County Manager Pat Whitten: He’s really wearing multiple hats.
McBride: Department Heads are pretty good at wearing multiple hats.
Carmona: So is that the intention that Martin going to take his place?
Loomis: Well, again, I’m going to ask probably Pat…
Whitten: That’s to be determined. That’ll be determined mostly by Austin, I would think, but it’ll go through, if it is, it’ll go through the normal processes of posting probably internally and externally, so I would say TBD at this point.
McBride: Lance, do you have any concerns or comments on this item?
Mr. Magnificent: I don’t have concerns or questions, no sir.
McBride: My conversation with everybody is that, yeah, it looks like everything is, you know, been reorganized since the retirement of Dean Haymore, uh, a lot of people have, uh, been trained, uh, to a higher level than, uh, than we have had in the past and it looks like all the bases are covered, so, uh, it, uh, it looks like, uh, we’re at a point now where, uh, we won’t need the services of Battle Born Consulting any longer. So anyway. Any public comment? Hearing none, can I get a motion?
Mr. Magnificent: I Lance Gilman move to terminate the contract with Battle Born Consulting Services LLC to act as the County Community Development Director.
Carmona: Um, you know, I want to say I have a few questions regarding that position, so, um, we can either entertain that, um or I, I would not second that at this time.
McBride: Ok, well, as everybody knows, I’m a fiscal conservative and so uh, uh, we have to give 30 days notice, so if we wait a couple more weeks or another month we are going to continue to be paying on the contract so I’d like to cut our losses short, so I’m going to second the motion. I have a motion and a second, all those in favor signify by saying aye.
McBride: Aye, the motion carries.
Whitten: I think you should call for no votes for the record.
McBride: You’re probably right. All those opposed, sorry Jay.
Carmona: That would be me.
McBride: Ok. The Clerk will note that Mr. Carmona voted no.
Can I have a double shot of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?
Let’s see if I’ve got this straight. Follow along with me and see if you see what I see:
Loomis: Battle Born has done a pretty good job of reorganizing the department to the point where the services may not be needed any further
Gary Hames did a great job but was fired for something, maybe even something bad.
Loomis: (the director’s position is) going remain vacant because the department has been reorganized to such an extent that the department it’s kind of self-operating
But Martin Azevedo is acting director, so it’s not self-operating. And two County employees, each with ten years of tenure, recently quit because Gary was a horror to work for. But he did a great job of reorganizing the department.
Abbot: Is Martin not filling in? – Who’s on first?
Costello: He is filling in. – What’s on second.
Abbot: So it isn’t vacant? – I don’t know’s on third.
Whitten: Department Heads are pretty good at wearing multiple hats.
Azevedo is covering right field because Abbot and Costello forgot to put anyone in right. Actually, we are lucky Azevedo is on our team. Azevedo is way more competent than Hames. Better yet, Azevedo has one thing going for him Hames couldn’t accomplish at any point during his entire career; people actually like him.
Costello: So is that the intention that Martin is going to take his place?
No, the department is cross trained and running itself. But Martin Azevedo has taken Gary Hames place. (I need another shot)
Whitten: I would think, but it’ll go through, if it is, it’ll go through the normal processes of posting probably internally and externally, so I would say TBD at this point.
We are going to, I mean, might look for someone to replace Hames as director. And if we do it will be by the books. Still, the department is running itself with Azevedo as director, even though he isn’t director because the department is self-operating. Spin Cycle on Beast Mode.
McBride: a lot of people have, uh, been trained, uh, to a higher level than, uh, than we have had in the past and it looks like all the bases are covered, so, uh, it, uh, it looks like, uh, we’re at a point now where, uh, we won’t need the services of Battle Born Consulting any longer.
Uh, all the bases are covered, yeah, uh, you know, by Who on first, What on Second and I Don’t Know on third. On April 21st we finally saw the bases were. like, you know, totally covered so we frogmarched Hames. You know, because he did such a good job reorganizing the department. Um, yeah, you know, it’s running all by itself. With Azevedo.
McBride: Ok, well, as everybody knows, I’m a fiscal conservative and so uh, uh, we have to give 30 days notice, so if we wait a couple more weeks or another month we are going to continue to be paying on the contract so I’d like to cut our losses short –
Uh, yeah, hold on a minute. Fiscal Conservative? Maybe with his cash, but not with ours. This is the guy who gave billion dollar global corporations $16 million of your tax dollars. This is the guy who gave Lance Gilman our section of USA Parkway so Lance could sell it to NDOT for $43 million dollars. McBride is as fiscally conservative as a drunken AOC handing out new green deals to every kid in America.
Cut our losses? Remind me, how did we lose again? I was told this is a win-win? We were told from the beginning this was a “great deal for the county”. We were told institutional knowledge. How do we have losses? What losses? Hames reorganized and cross trained himself out of a job and we save $138,408 a year. But we fired him. Because the department is running itself. With Azevedo as director. Cut and run.
Fiscal Conservative. Cut our losses. Good Lord. I need another shot.
Carmona: That would be me.
Wait, what? The self-proclaimed “not a GOB outsider” howls about The Teller costing the county $100,000 in vexation yet wants to extend the $138,408 contract to his GOB friend Hames (yes, friend) who just got fired? It only took five months in office for Carmona to reveal himself. And we thought McGuffey was the hobGOBlin.
Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. Just leave the bottle…
Yeah. Um. You Know.
Bottom line, thanks to Storey County leadership, Gary Hames is getting at least two months of cash for doing nothing. But like a good little zombie, Gary isn’t gone yet. Hames’ attorney recently contacted me about some stuff, so I’ll bet you a doughnut we haven’t heard the last from him.
In the immortal words of Hunter S. Thompson: “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”
Maybe, just maybe, in November of 2020, we can seat a new who on first and find a new what on second to sit next to the I don’t know at third.
Can I have another bottle, please?
¡Hasta la Victoria, Siempre!