It's show time at the NDOT - today at 9 a.m., Legislative Building, Room 1214.
All recent letters regarding our Carson City bypass project contain errors of fact and truth. If allowed to continue, this could cause serious damage to the careers of many bureaucrats. The consequences could be worse than the cure. Mr. Tom Stephens could be replaced by a former SIIS employee. Are you aware they were dispersed among other government agencies? Some went to DMV, I'm told.
I have never personally met Mr. Tom Stephens, Director, Nevada Department of Transportation, but from what I've read, Mr. Stephens appears to be truly a "Man of Government." Though only appointed, Mr. Stephens is just one of the many thousands in government service dependent on us for their support.
As government grows and becomes even more intrusive in our lives, I simply assert my First Amendment right of freedom of association and avoid them all whenever possible. We are all working as hard as we can to support them in spite of the burdens of SIIS, many thousands of hours wasted at DMV and in traffic on Carson Street. I simply can't afford to take time off for their 9 a.m. show time.
The facts in this bypass matter are that the NDOT does not build highways. Skilled craftsmen and tradesmen at NDOT maintain and operate our equipment for street repairs and do other tasks. Secretaries and accountants work and a few others concern themselves with benefits and department growth.
The truth is that Mr. Stephens and staff primarily do meetings, and very well indeed. The truth is that Granite Construction and other private sector firms, not the NDOT, build highways and bridges. The governor, Mr. Stephens and others all take credit for the projects on mammoth job site signs, but the truth is that even their pre-bid plans and specifications are worthless and must always be reworked by private industry firms before construction commences. Again, they do meetings.
NDOT has had several weeks to rehearse for this upcoming show meeting. All of Mr. Stephens' acting skills will be put to the test at this meeting. The other actors on stage will also be demonstrating their finest meeting skills. Observe their costumes, where they sit and body language, how they construct their words and posture themselves. This will be a major production scripted to include suspense, tragedy, revelations and comic relief. Your cans of tuna will be confiscated at the metal detector now being installed, and the Capitol Police will have what is called a strong presence and command inside.
Don't expect the kissing cops that we read about last week and paid $260,000 in compensation. These armed security forces will resemble the jack-booted NHP thugs that protected the DMV employees last summer and earlier manned the ramparts at fortress SIIS before its demise and subsequent resurrection last year. The directors of this staged production are fully aware that at the turn of the century, it was the custom to throw rotten fruit and vegetables at bad actors on stage. Even if you sneak your rotten tuna inside in plastic bags, Fuhgeddaboutit! Go to the show. You have already paid for your tickets.
The only suspense is if Mr. Tom (Tuna) Stephens will be canned. Tragedy will be implied in that Mr. Tuna may only be a scapefish about to be unjustly winnowed. The revelations will be that other defective spawn who may be equally or more responsible. The closing curtain will leave you confident that the bypass is progressing on schedule and at budget. Don't leave early in disgust and miss that comical ending.
It may be true that Mr. Stephens has been dependent on us for his support for his entire adult life. He has never had to produce a product or a service at a profit, make a payroll or labor under the burdens of government. Unable to perform even entry-level tasks, he demonstrated a potential to do meetings, hence as so many were, he was simply promoted to management where he perfected and polished his meeting skills. The five-cent per gallon idea came out of a meeting. Passage was required to enrich his staff and for departmental growth. It was a team effort. If anything is left over, Tom need only point to where the road goes and send Granite a check for any remaining balance left in the account and road construction begins.
In closing, I'm certain decency, pragmatism and fear of litigation will prevail. Again, enjoy the show.
FRED G. SHERMAN