Open Meeting Law complaint halts IVGID GM search
Ryan Summerlin October 2, 2013
What started out as six finalists had been whittled to four as of press time Wednesday, but the number could grow depending on how the search develops after next Thursday’s special meeting. The original six candidates are as follows:
Dan St. John*
*St. John and Mears have withdrawn their names from consideration.
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The odds of a new IVGID general manager being hired by year’s end aren’t getting any better.
Days after interviews were scheduled for six candidates to replace Bill Horn’s position at the Incline Village General Improvement District, two finalists withdrew their names due to personal reasons, the Bonanza learned this week.
Meanwhile, it appears the other four — should they remain in the running — won’t get a chance to meet residents anytime soon.
The IVGID Board of Trustees voted this week to cancel the Monday, Oct. 7, all-day public Q-and-A and meet-and-greet session for Keven Burnett, Tom Masterson, Richard Mears, Rosemary Menard, Eric Severance and Dan St. John.
“Who are the five other people? And why did it get down to six? This information is vitally important to the public.”
Incline Village resident
The 5-0 vote came in a closed meeting with legal counsel early Tuesday morning, board chair Bruce Simonian said, in response to a Nevada Open Meeting Law violation filed recently by Incline resident Aaron Katz with the Attorney General’s Office.
“We determined it was prudent … given the course of action regarding this frivolous complaint … to cancel the interviews,” Simonian said Wednesday.
A special public board meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, at IVGID offices at 893 Southwood Blvd.
There, the board will discuss the process each trustee endured to help the district-hired search firm — Peckham & McKenney Executive Search and Consulting — agree on the six candidates from an original list of 11, Simonian said.
Trustees also will likely vote on a public interview process moving forward. An agenda could be published by Friday.
Initially, 158 people applied for the GM position. The firm narrowed that list to 11 before trustees were involved, search firm co-founder Phil McKenney said.
Without knowing candidates’ names, locations or other redacted information, each of the trustees gave feedback to the company to create the final six-person list.
The trustees acted independently in their responses, McKenney said, something Simonian stressed on Wednesday.
“There was no collusion, no serial emailing among the trustees, nothing like that,” he said. “That scenario … doesn’t exist.”
The board opted to reopen the matter and schedule next week’s special meeting in an effort to be transparent, Simonian said, and to prove the process to get from 11 to six was done legally.
On Wednesday, Katz said he filed the complaint because he wants to know how and why the trustees concluded that five other candidates — whose names are unknown — were not considered worthy of an interview.
“Who are the five other people? And why did it get down to six? This information is vitally important to the public,” said Katz, who added that he felt the six finalists constituted a “lousy list.”
Katz is a frequent critic of IVGID and has filed several OML violations, ethics complaints and lawsuits against the district. He had yet to hear from the attorney general’s office as of Wednesday regarding the status of his most recent complaint, only that it had been received.
The board meets for its regular meeting at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9. While that agenda was not available as of press time, it’s unlikely the GM search will be a topic, Simonian said.
While the future of the search is in question, one thing is certain — two of the original six finalists are no longer interested.
St. John — IVGID’s former director of public works — dropped out due to personal reasons, he told the Bonanza Tuesday.
“Unfortunately, life happens when you’re making plans. My condition has changed since when I applied for the job back in January. I’m not in the same position I was back then,” he said. “I sat down with my wife, and we looked at it, and we decided it was not the best decision for us and not the best decision for IVGID.”
St. John — who owns a second home in Incline Village — has been Director of Public Works and Utilities for the city of Petaluma, Calif., since 2012.
He previously worked as Public Works Director for Washoe County (2007-11); Director of Public Works for IVGID (2000-07); and Engineering Director for IVGID (1989-98).
Mears, vice president of Guest Services for the San Francisco Giants, also withdrew his name, he told the Bonanza Monday.
Since one of the requirements of the new general manager is to become an Incline Village resident, Tahoe’s high cost of living was a major deal breaker, he said.
Mears said he informed McKenney over the weekend, as well as IVGID Trustee Jim Smith, whom he considers a “good friend.”
The Giants are among several pro sports teams that are clients of Smith’s private business, Service Scouts, which he founded in 1996.
Aside from finances, Mears’ decision stemmed from work during the Major League Baseball regular season consuming much of his schedule, he said, thus not allowing him enough time to fully research the district and its issues.
Not that those issues change much, he said.
“I’ve read the minutes from the (IVGID board) meetings up there, all the way back for two years. Then I had a friend … who shared minutes with me from a few meetings in the 1960s — it’s still the same things, it’s exactly the same,” Mears said. “You can change the dates and names, it would still be the same.”
Horn began his paid leave of absence from the district on Tuesday; he official retires Dec. 31, 2013.
Until then, Public Works Director Joe Pomroy will serve as interim general manager.
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