When you review the minutes of Storey County’s Commission meetings, you will find the record peppered with the phrase Team Storey. This phrase is typically surrounded by the flowery praise of a county employee or department whose exemplary service requires attention as they pat themselves on the back for conducting what the average working stiff might simply consider the reason the county taxpayers write them a check every two weeks.
Coined by Dean Haymore, Team Storey is meant to describe how well the county and its employees perform and interact as they go about the business of operating the biggest little county in the world to the remarkable benefit of its residents.
During the past six years, Storey County residents have watched as Team Storey has devolved into one of the more embarrassing pissing matches in state memory. This contest reached fire-hose velocity when, in November, Lance Gilman assembled “Team Gilman” to oust the twice elected Sheriff Gerald Antinoro.
Gilman directed two employees; Kris Thompson (whose legal residence is a duplex shared with Lance Gilman at the Mustang Ranch if you can believe that) and Rich Crombie, (who lives in Reno), and a Carson City attorney to organize an effort to recall Sheriff Gerald Antinoro.
Team Gilman then went about hiring a perky group of canvassers and dispatched them to all corners of the county to convince the public to sing on to the high crimes and misdemeanors as outlined in the petition declaration:
Sheriff Antinoro should be recalled. He has a track record of mistreating women. An independent sexual harassment investigator hired by Storey County found that Antinoro engaged in multiple acts of sexual harassment. The County scheduled sexual harassment training because of his conduct, but he skipped it.
Antinoro’s personnel decisions have cost the County $144,000 in settlements with former employees, plus thousand of dollar more in time for staff at the County to handle the numerous claims by his employees.
He stipulated with the Ethics Commission to settle a charge of using his office to obtain unwarranted personal benefits during the 2014 election. Recently, a panel of the Ethics Commission determined just and sufficient cause existed to refer a second charge to the full Commission for adjudication. This alleged violation of the ethic laws relates to his use of official Sheriff’s stationary to endorse a political candidate.
Antinoro was incompetent in handling the Judy Black homicide scene and investigation, prematurely calling it an accident. He mishandled evidence which required the DA to exhume the remains in order to retrieve critical evidence for a murder trial.
We deserve a Sheriff who protect and serves the citizens not himself. Recall Sheriff Antinoro.
Residents of the rural Highlands cried foul as the canvassers entered their private property to knock on the doors and shake a hand. In the east end of the county, stalwarts of “Team Antinoro” objected to a group of canvassers working the River District as they failed to comply with the rules set forth by the Home Owners Association (HOA) requiring canvassers to obtain permission from the HOA before collecting signatures from the residents.
During this initial confrontation, the Sheriff’s office was contacted (irony) to settle the dust and one of the canvassers was cuffed and stuffed for an outstanding warrant. After a howl of protest from Kris Thompson and Team Gilman, an emergency Temporary Restraining Order was granted to allow the canvassing of the River District to resume over the protests of the River District HOA’s legal council.
Team Gilman and Team Antinoro then took to the ChatGrouposhpere to duke it out over the electrons. Using a community blog as its soapbox, members of the chat group would type one or two whispers of support for Team Antinoro which would be quickly answered by Team Gilman’s Kris Thompson and his zephyr-like yammerfests.
Kris beat the iron yammer and tong repeating over and over the high crimes and misdemeanors of the villainous Sheriff. The banter, at times entertaining and at times downright nasty, finally hit a level of mean spirited verbosity that the Chat Group’s moderator was forced to suspend discussion of the matter until after the recall effort was decided.
About this time Mother Nature decided to have her input and shifted the focus from Team Gilman and Team Antinoro back to Team Storey. She unleashed what some (mostly California transplants who never drove in the stuff) called “Snowmageddon”; grizzled Nevadans simply called it snow. Panic and chains were employed; the snowplows were dusted off as things more practical were tended to.
As it came down to the wire and February 8th rolled around, a Hail Mary play was called to gather the last-minute signers. That is when Team Storey circled the wagons against the Sheriff. Pat Whitten (County Manager), Austin Osborne (Assistant Manager) and Gary Hames (Fire Chief) signed up against Team Antinoro on the same sheet. Bum Hess stuffed the ballot by convincing people to sign up with separate addresses. County Employees in the Courthouse, diligently hoping to remain in the good graces of their masters, lined up and signed up. As the last sheets were handed around and notarized, the final paperwork was readied and delivered to the Secretary of State.
In the end, 597 signatures were delivered. 594 were accepted as the final tally of collected signatures; well above the 477 threshold required by law to move forward. Once the list was processed, the 400+ page pdf of all the signatures was posted and made available to the public by Highlands stalwart Nicole Barde.
This document revealed some remarkable information. The roster of canvassers included some interesting names; Bum Hess, Maggie Mahan, Mrs. Thompson and former Sheriff Jim Miller. Bum Hess was famously arrested by Team Antinoro for felony assault and Jim Miller, so anxious to replace former protege Antinoro, is rumored to have already given County Manager Pat Whitten his uniform size.
As the roster of signers of the recall petition is scrutinized, it is no surprise that Team Gilman and Team Storey pretty much merged together. The names of County leaders, former and current, is remarkable. And disappointing.
Make no mistake, this Recall is an unashamed effort to return us to the romantic “good old days” when Del Carlo ran the county under the direction of Joe Conforte. The Team Storey Cabal needs a Sheriff who will use the color of authority to put the hammer down on anyone daring to stand up to the Courthouse or the folks on Toll Road. In the glory days, if a citizen stepped out of line and took umbrage with one of the tentacles of the County Octopus, they could count on a visit from the badge of intimidation.
Sheriff Antinoro has demonstrated over and over again his brand of policing does not include, contrary to the incessant yammering of Kris Thompson on the ChatGrouposhpere, systematic harassment and intimidation. Those days are six years in the rear view mirror with the retirement of Jim Miller Jr.
In fact, Antinoro’s community based approach could be exactly what this country needs today. If you look at recent headlines of Police/Citizen violence over the past few years, a little more of the type of service delivered in our community by the Deputies of the Storey County Sheriff’s Office might produce a more healthy relationship between the Police and the communities they serve.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Team Storey continues to consider themselves the New England Patriots while the rest of the known world sees them for who they really are: the Washington Generals.
You made it this far. Thanks for reading.
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