| ˈminəˌskyo͞ol, minˈəsˌkyo͞ol | (also miniscule) adjective
1) extremely small; tiny: a minuscule fragment of DNA. • informal so small as to be negligible or insufficient: he believed the risk of infection was minuscule.
2) of or in lowercase letters, as distinct from capitals or uncials. • of or in a small cursive script of the Roman alphabet, with ascenders and descenders, developed in the 7th-century ad. noun minuscule script. • a small or lowercase letter.
3) the embarrassingly tiny hourly rate charged by contractors, consultants, lawyers, investigators and any other schmuck wanting to do business in Storey County.
Pat Whitten, Storey County Manager Emeritus
At the July 2nd Commission meeting, the Storey County Commission approved a contract with Pat A Whitten and PAW Consulting services at Tuesday’s Commissioners meeting. During Commissioner Comment, Jay Carmona observed the Commissioners found Osborne to be the most capable candidate and hired him to do the job. As in the whole job, not just the easy parts. Let’s let him fly on his own and not hire a helicopter parent to babysit him.
Real Estate Developer, TRIC Executive, Mustang Ranch Brothel owner, former Blockchain government affair director, aspiring hemp farmer, Kris Thompson, and Jennifer Barnes-Milsap’s double-wide bunkmate, and Storey County Commissioner, Lance “The Magnificent” Gilman delivered an oratory to make a Baptist minister tingle.
Listen here as Commissioner Gilman gives William Jennings Bryan a run for his money:
For those who don’t want to listen, Gilman told those present Whitten’s $165 hourly fee to provide Austin information and guidance is the mental equivalent of unobtanium, and thus is truly “minuscule”.
$165 an hour might be minuscule to someone of Gilman’s bank account’s stature, but to the taxpayers of Storey County, it is a hell of a lot of money. For comparison’s sake, it’s about 10x what the front line worker of the county makes. In fact, it is nearly $100 an hour more than Whitten made as County Manager.
Not. Really. Minuscule.
Dig into the agenda packet of the July 2nd meeting, and look at Agenda item 17 (which was continued). CFA is an engineering firm the County wants to enter into a Master Services Agreement with. I am assuming the firm is chock full of people who hold hard to get engineering degrees from hard to get into engineering schools. Qualified men and women, to be sure. On page 300 you will find a schedule of fees for CFA. Notice the hourly rate of the President of the Company charges for his time. It is even less than minuscule. CFA probably asked for a continuance so they could adjust their hourly rate up from teensy-weensy to minuscule.
$165 is a ton of money, and as taxpayers, it is our right to ask why.
Now that Gilman and McBride have mainlined Whitten’s spike into our cash vein, the next question is: For how long?
The Contract That Never Ends
There are all kinds of mixed signals coming from the county. But however you read the tea leaves, this contract has every indication of being like the immortal (and I do mean immortal) song from Shari and Lambchop.
Austin Osborne’s statement in the July 2nd meeting leads us to believe that this contract is very limited in scope and will end soon: “There are projects, and that is the operative word here such as the Tesla negotiations, the tri-stipp transfer (first time I’ve heard this, so I don’t know how it is spelled…), and the GID and the effluent pipeline advance water treatment. Those are the big ones. Some of these are very close to conclusion. I support the fact that he would land those projects. At one point those projects will be completed and that will be the end of it.”
However, Commissioner McBride said it was his idea to keep Whitten on as County Manager Emeritus. “Since the time that Austin made the cut and we decided to make him the new County Manager which was only a short time ago, there have actually more projects put on the (Whitten’s?) plate since then.
It’s not like someone who is coming into the County with a clean slate taking over Pat’s job, it’s someone who already has a job in the County so there’s a lot of work that is currently going on and more work that going to be taken on and additional work that’s come to the County since Austin has been named the County Manager.
That’s why I brought this forward this was my idea I’ve been talking to Pat about this a long long time to help us get over the rocky moments of a transition here.”
It seems as if Commissioner McBride is saying there even more things have come in the past couple of weeks up that only Whitten can handle. And in the months and years to come there will be more. If that is the case, this really will be the contract goes on and on, my friends.
Whose Idea Was This, Anyway?
During the June 4th Commission meeting, Pat Whitten can be heard (here at the 1:25:25 mark) saying: “Austin and I have talked more in the past month than we have collectively in any given year…. In doing that and talking through things we came to a conclusion and a thought he and I have been kicking around… so the proposal that, even though I want to retire retire, is that I would come back and consult on under 20 projects…” So Austin and Pat dreamed up this contract.
At the July 2nd Meeting, Commissioner Marshall McBride said twice it was his idea. Something he had been thinking about long and hard for some time. “That’s why I brought this forward. This was my idea, I’ve been talking to Pat about this for a long long time. To help us to get over the rocky moments during the transition.” So Marshall McBride dreamed up this contract. Hmmm.
Does it matter who built this? It will if (when) things end like Pat Whitten’s Battle Born Consulting debacle. Today everyone wants credit for this crony contract. Tomorrow? Maybe not so much.
there were some reasonable arguments for keeping Whitten on as Manager Emeritus. Most of them had to do with the smooth transition and landing difficult negotiations safely. All well and good. However, $165 an hour for Pat Whitten to do Austin Osborne’s job is fiscally irresponsible. “Fiscally responsible” Marshall McBride needs to own this crony contract. We help him own it with every check issued to the PAW Patrol.
I predict when we celebrate America’s 244th birthday, we will still be cutting checks to PAW Consulting.
Anyone want to take odds on that?
Didn’t think so.
Good on Commissioner Carmona for finally voting for the people. Too bad he sits next to two of the most fiscally irresponsible people in Storey County history.
Irresponsible to the taxpayers, that is, not themselves.
Next November we can change the seating arrangement.
Remember this when you vote then.
¡Hasta la Victoria, Siempre!
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Hey Sam, you owe Jay Carmona some props. He stuck to his guns with no backup on this & also on the Hames issue. I thought he was wrong to vote “No” to terminating Hames’ contract, and you gave him a lot of flack on The Teller for that “No” vote. Now, in hindsight, your own reporting on Hames’ suit against the county would indicate that Carmona was the only one who kept his head on his shoulders in voting “No.” Now, he’s voted “No” on the Whitten issue, and I believe it’s because he has faith in Osborne’s abilities, and he also might have considered Whitten’s To Do List, just as Nicole Barde did on her blog. According to her evaluation of what’s left To Do, the county might not need extra assistance, they’ve got these To Do’s covered. Anyway, it’s all moot and Carmona was outvoted on both issues.