IVGID Trustee Devine: Smith, Callicrate have ‘developed a disturbing pattern’
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was published prior to Wednesday evening’s IVGID Board of Trustees meeting. Look for coverage of that meeting next week.
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Jim Smith and Tim Callicrate said they were shocked and saddened to be blindsided by a public statement Tuesday from fellow IVGID trustee Bill Devine that accused them of gutting employee morale and disrespecting the district and community.
Devine said he will “continue to explore avenues to censure and/or remove” Smith and Callicrate from their positions as chairman and vice-chairman of the board of trustees if they continue to “ignore board responsibilities.”
“You have shown total disrespect to this board, to all IVGID employees, and most important, the citizens that you swore an oath to serve and protect,” Devine said at the beginning of Tuesday’s board meeting about the 2015-16 budget. “You have shown an utter contempt for anyone brave enough to question your actions. You have misrepresented your individual roles in the chaos we have all been exposed to due to your meddling. You have gutted morale amongst employees to unprecedented lows.”
Readers can click here to view a web recording of Tuesday’s meeting and listen to Devine’s full statement.
In a Wednesday phone interview, Smith said he was “saddened” by the statement.
“I was completely surprised that he made a statement that wasn’t valid,” Smith said. “All I’ve done is communicate well with Mr. Devine … and I’ve supported his attendance and allowed him to participate in the meetings … I’m surprised with his comments because he didn’t share this information with me ahead of time.”
Smith said he’s even received written correspondence from Devine, telling “me on two occasions after IVGID meetings I was doing a great job running the meetings.”
Callicrate said he was “shocked” to hear Devine’s words, and he had “no idea that (Devine) felt so viscerally that way.”
“Last Thursday, Bill expressed his dismay, and we had a chance to talk … and he said he was disappointed and that he felt like (my comments) came out of left field, and that it wasn’t probably the best way (for me) to handle it,” Callicrate said Wednesday. “But I had … no idea that (Bill) felt that way, that Jim and I need to be censured, or that we should resign.
“I have no intention of resigning from the board or resigning my position from the board.”
FOLLOWING BOARD DIRECTION?
Devine’s statement, which also accused Smith and Callicrate of developing “a disturbing pattern of acting independently of this board,” came after Smith last week called out the performance of General Manager Steve Pinkerton in an email to trustees and senior staff, and after Callicrate criticized Pinkerton and said he should be replaced.
According to Smith’s email, Pinkerton submitted PDF documents at about 5:15 p.m. April 21, with information to be included in the agendas for both Tuesday’s budget meeting and Wednesday’s regular board meeting.
Smith wrote that he was “very frustrated” and “entirely dissatisfied” for getting information when he did, as it gave him only hours to approve the board packets so they could be agendized per Nevada law requiring written notice within at least three working days of a meeting.
He further wrote that Pinkerton’s “pattern” of poor agenda preparation, including packets containing several hundred pages, “will need to be specifically remedied and addressed in your performance evaluation.”
According to the minutes of the Dec. 2, 2014, meeting, the IVGID board directed Pinkerton to make agenda packets available to the public seven business days prior to meetings, in an effort for residents to be more informed.
While Smith last week said he was unable to comment due to him being out of town on business, this week he told the Bonanza that Pinkerton has met that deadline “one or two times” out of 10 meetings that included board packets, according to data supplied to him by district staff.
“We are averaging four business days and 477 pages per packet,” Smith said. “Therefore, this data indicates 119 pages per day for the board to read, understand and get community input on before decision making on general business Items.”
Smith added that while the seven-business-day direction is not a current board policy, he expects to agendize that for a vote in an upcoming meeting to make it so.
When asked this week to comment on how that may impact Pinkerton’s performance review, Smith said: “Specifically, I will not rate Mr. Pinkerton’s job performance. However, these guidelines regarding readying agendas and board packets have not been met.”
Pinkerton, whose first day as IVGID’s GM was one year ago Tuesday, did not return requests for comment for this story.
In interviews this week, Callicrate, Devine and trustee Kendra Wong chose not to specifically comment on Pinkerton’s performance, saying that’s best kept for his public review, which is scheduled for August.
Trustee Jim Hammerel declined to comment on this story, writing in an email that he was “a little sensitive to giving a statement right now.”
‘A PRETTY HIGH-LEVEL ISSUE’
Prior to Tuesday’s board meeting, Callicrate apologized for how his comments last week — which included saying it’s Pinkerton’s “time to go” — were perceived by the community, and that he did not consult the board prior to making them.
“I let my frustration get the better of me, and this is not how I like to conduct business, and I am sorry for that,” he said. “But I still stand by what I said; there are credibility and integrity issues that are there.”
When asked to elaborate, Callicrate said he took issue with Pinkerton’s decision earlier this year to “terminate” a senior employee. Further, other staff members Callicrate said he has spoken with told him they were looking for work elsewhere, which raises a red flag in terms of Pinkerton’s management capabilities.
It’s because of these and other issues why Callicrate said he planned to discuss at Wednesday night’s meeting the possibility of moving up Pinkerton’s review to an agenda earlier than August.
“The fact he hasn’t had a review and he’s been here a year, I think that’s disservice to the board and to the community,” Callicrate said Tuesday. “I feel he should be doing a better job.”
Callicrate also spoke to a perception that he as a trustee is overstepping his bounds, in terms of being a board member, and not an IVGID employee.
“I’ve been accused of getting into the weeds and trying to micromanage, to do the day-to-day, and I’ve been admonished by former board members that our job is only to manage the GM and set policy,” he said. “Well here you go — we gave clear direction with the agenda packets … and if that is not being done, well I don’t enjoy spending 30 hours a week following up on people who are not doing their job.”
In a Wednesday morning interview, Devine was asked his views on last week’s comments from Smith and Callicrate.
“We all have our personal views, but I believe on the board, we’re held to a little higher standard, and we need to at least recognize what we say could be taken as the board’s views, and that can be misleading — there is a danger that people can read it that way,” he said. “I was upset because I felt like there should be more restraint and a little better honor showed to the entire board, and with this particular issue, it’s a pretty high-level issue, and it’s one that we should speak about as a board and have it discussed … first in a public meeting.”
Devine was also asked to expand on his Tuesday statement.
“It’s not really the preferred way I would have liked to go about it, but I feel we’re at a juncture, not so much that (Smith and Callicrate) need to be stripped of positions, but I believe we need to have an open discussion about it, and I really see a need to discuss the roles of the board,” he said. “My reaction, it’s not to take issue about the general manager’s performance, but how we act as a board.”