Gary Hames Relieved of Duties
The Teller has confirmed that on Thursday, April 18th, Community Development Director Gary Hames was escorted out of the building. County Manager in waiting Austin Osborne appointed Fire Marshall Martin Azevedo acting director. The locks on the building have been changed and all emails and other communications have been routed to Mr. Azevedo.
Storey County entered into an $11,354 per month contract with Battle Born Consulting Services in July of 2017. This contract started just days after his retirement as Storey County Fire Chief.
On March 18th the County agreed to indemnify the County Manager of Humboldt County. The County brought him in to make a decision on behalf of County Manager Pat Whitten. At the time, the Commission would not reveal the details of the action because it was a personnel matter. Speculation ran rampant in the community as to what this matter could be. It appears as if we may know why the County took these actions.
County Employees are on direct orders from District Attorney Anne Langer to not discuss the details of the matter. However, The Teller is in possession of evidence that suggests that Mr. Hames colluded with other county employees to raise fees charged by Community Development without the legal authority. The Storey County Commission must approve any adjustment of rates charged by Community Development and other County entities.
County Remains Mum on Details
Calls seeking further information to District Attorney Anne Langer have gone unanswered.
The actions of Mr. Hames and other County employees, if proven to be true, should result in the County refunding perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars to unsuspecting permit holders. The County continues to stonewall The Teller by not answering multiple public record requests, so don’t hold your breath while we try to get to the bottom of this and other articles we are working on. We suspect we will all have to wait for the County to dole out information as they see fit.
Readers of The Teller may remember our criticism of Storey County when Pat Whitten handed out retirement “bonuses” to Dean Haymore, Mike Nevin, and Gary Hames totaling $215,000. You may further remember our criticism of signed a no-bid contract with Gary Hames and Battle Born Consulting in June of 2018.
It is too early to tell, but this may be the first step the County has taken since forever in addressing the indifference to the rules and cronyism displayed by Pat Whitten and others. Hopefully, it is the beginning of a fight to change the disease that taints the hard work and integrity of the majority of the Storey County rank and file employees.
Let’s hope this is the beginning of a new trend in Storey County.