Simonian guest column: We must stand up as a community
At our last board meeting (Feb. 26), four people in our community walked to the podium and slandered my name. First, let us consider the source. Frank Wright, Aaron Katz, Judith Miller and Margaret Martini have joined forces to dismantle my character for no reason other than to boost their own standings as watchdogs.
They have filed or been party to numerous complaints and allegations, all of which have been dismissed at great cost to the community, totaling tens of thousands of wasted litigation dollars. Never once did they concede after losing. Ex-attorney Aaron Katz has record of frivolous, malicious and vexatious lawsuits going back decades, is a convicted perjurer and was suspended from the California bar.
Now he and his partners stand before us to call into question my integrity. Their allegation is that Eric Severance and I conspired to defraud the board, staff and the community by hiding crucial information regarding Eric’s qualifications as a general manager candidate for the Incline Village General Improvement District.
Eric and I discussed his qualifications before he submitted his application. Our consensus was that with all of his experience and accumulative knowledge, that the requirement of a bachelor’s degree might be waived. Nothing was hidden. It was always out in the open.
The first document was submitted to our HR Director, Dee Carey, and then disseminated to the board with the other 70-plus candidates for analysis and review. Redacted, (all of the candidate’s personal information was deleted) out of those applicants, Eric was moved to the ‘A’ list. After much discussion and push back from various people in the district, we hired the executive search firm of Peckham and McKenny.
They went out on a larger scale, finding 152 candidates including the original 72. P and M, having narrowed the field down to 11 and asked the board to drill down further. The board selected eight. P and M narrowed that down to six. There was the perception by Katz, Wright and a few others that there were possible OML violations, and the process began again with the 11.
We finally had the field down to two final candidates. This all took several months, numerous interviews and a huge amount of time and energy spent by both candidates, particularly Severance. The board had ample opportunity to read through all of the submitted applicant material and did not call Eric out on his lack of a degree.
Katz decided that he and his bullies didn’t like this candidate. They tried to smear Eric’s impeccable reputation. To insinuate that Eric and I were in collusion to defraud anyone is ridiculous. People did not do their homework. This application was submitted, not once, but twice.
The people that now question my integrity have none — no accountability, nothing. They ask for my resignation. The sad part is, no one stood up on my behalf, and believe these lies and innuendos are true.
I diligently went through all the applications as I qualified possible candidates for the GM position. None of the other Board members read them diligently, and rather than own that, they seek to shift that embarrassing fact to someone else — Katz, Wright, Miller and Martini, who all are too happy to pick up the torch and light me on fire. Again, consider the source.
It’s exhausting, but the community must continue to stand up to these people and not let them run our village. For the past 35 years I have put my heart and soul into our great community and it saddens me deeply to be slandered like this.
Bruce Simonian is an Incline Village General Improvement District Board trustee and served as chairman of the board in 2013.