Guest Column: Our village is under attack |

Guest Column: Our village is under attack

My husband and I attended the May 29 IVGID Board meeting. We were astounded at how this community governance event has deteriorated over the past three years.

Some of us — and some of our Trustees — have bought into the insidious lies that IVGID is in trouble and our general manager is at best, incompetent, and at worse, nefarious. I would submit that IVGID, in fact, is well run and Bill Horn is working hard to run this district well and to set up its future to run even better.

As a change agent in a Fortune 10 company for 15 years and a consultant to the aviation industry for more than twenty, do I understand there is always room for improvement? Of course.

But can we be proud of our staff and the work they do, a staff that Bill Horn hired and manages in a toxic environment not of his or their making? Yes, we can.

I want to raise concerns about how our new trustees are responding to the current situation.

Last fall, we put up yard signs supporting candidates for trustee. In two cases, I am sorry that we did.

One seems to want to delay every decision, or to hire outside experts to do studies. He seems to believe that the board must then accept those experts’ recommendations. This outsources responsibility — “It wasn’t us; it was the experts.” He also seems to believe that bending over backwards to appease those who viciously attack the IVGID Board and staff is a viable strategy.

Another has great potential, yet the pattern of his actions seems to derive from an assumption that everything is broken and he personally must fix it. Trying to be everyone’s Knight on a Shiny White Charger does not help; it hurts.

Leaping without consultation to final solutions and expecting others immediately to get in line is not effective, nor is going outside of his role for direct talks with suppliers. Functioning as a member of a Board is different than being an individual contributor answerable only to oneself.

I also suspect he hasn’t yet learned there is real evil in the world, and that you can do unimaginable damage to your community by buying its seductive line or believing you can placate it.

I believe these behaviors are symptoms of a darker malaise. We need to recognize there are people among us working with malevolent intent to disintegrate our community. They infect like a poison from within. As we understand we are under assault, we can pull together to deflect the assaults.

For example, when people attack Scott Brooke for the costs we’re racking up to defend the district against their frivolous lawsuits and ethics complaints that keep being found to be without merit — but that have cost in excess of a hundred thousand dollars to defend — it leaves you to wonder what parallel universe we’re living in.

As a trustee, it’s tempting to believe that if you can outsource or delay decision-making enough, triple-check everything enough, or be solicitous enough, you can avoid future lawsuits and ethics complaints. Guess what? You can’t.

Concluding our community is being attacked by those without conscience and with malevolent intent is hard to do. Decent human beings tend to assume that others are operating with values, constraints and consciences similar to their own. Our own decency makes us vulnerable. Yet we need to find out.

So what can we do? We can educate ourselves about the nature of pathological behavior. Please look at The Washoe County Library has a book called “The Sociopath Next Door,” subtitled “The Ruthless Versus the Rest of Us.”

Should we conclude this is what is going on, we can learn from the Amish and shun them and choose not to do business with them and those who cluster around them. We can come together to work with our legislators and judges to strengthen and apply Nevada’s frivolous lawsuit statutes so there can be consequences to meritless suits.

We can support our general manager and our staff. And we can encourage our trustees to act with clarity, consideration and collaboration, and, as they do so, we can celebrate their courage.

Kaye Shackford is an Incline Village resident.

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