Who's in charge in northern Storey County?

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With the appointment of two of its members in question, the battle over who is on the Canyon General Improvement District will go to Storey County commissioners on Tuesday.

The five-member board has lost two members -- one to a recall when voters rejected Pat Shannon, and another, Robert Schnaufer, who resigned.

When the improvement district board met to appoint two new members, board member Brad Bryant was not present at the meeting, leaving just two members, Dave Cockerton and Marvin Clark, in attendance.

Believing they were a quorum of the board, Cockerton and Clark voted to add two members to the board and appointed Shannon, the former district chairman, to lead an advisory committee.

However, a ruling from the Nevada Attorney General's Office points out that a quorum consists of the entire board, not just the members holding office. Without a quorum, Cockerton and Clark's action could be ruled invalid.

Three other residents have applied for the position and commissioners are expected to appoint two members to replace Mays and Davidson at Tuesday's Storey County Commission meeting at the Virginia City Courthouse.

Shannon's appointment to the advisory committee infuriated about half the citizens of Rainbow Bend.

"I think it's appalling," said Rainbow Bend resident Louise Pena. "Our community voted him out for the things he pulled and the lies he told. The people spoke by recall."

"The decision is completely against voting wishes of the people. It's completely asinine," Storey County Commissioner Bob Kershaw said. "They voted to remove him and this appointment put him right back in control."

Rainbow Bend residents Richard McNaughton, Louise Pena and Charles Bay appealed to the Attorney General's Office following the vote that placed Shannon at the head of the advisory board and the Attorney General's Office submitted its decision to Storey County District Attorney Janet Hess on Tuesday.

"The Board can take action with an affirmative vote by a majority of the members present during the meeting of the public body, provided at least three members are present, constituting a quorum," Deputy Attorney General Henna Rasul said in the response.

It's not a decision accepted by current improvement district board members, who are moving forward with their two newly appointed members, Tom Davidson and Buddy Mays.

The district board will hold a closed session Tuesday to consider the conduct of the improvement district's accountant and manager and have asked Kershaw to appear at an open meeting on Wednesday.

According to Shannon, he is still chairman of the Citizen's Water Advisory Committee.

"The attorney for the GID (Mark Gunderson) said the meeting was valid," he said. "One attorney's opinion is as good as another's, and until a judge makes a ruling that decision stands."

"We're going to have to physically remove them. That's what it's coming down to and we can do that with a court injunction," Kershaw said.

A number of issues have split the community since commissioners approved the formation of the improvement district in 1993, and the most recent problem came when Rainbow Bend's only well began to fail.

The state has mandated a second source for the small community in northern Storey County and the newly formed advisory board was created at the behest of Loomis and Associates, the engineering firm hired by the improvement district to secure a new water supply, according to Improvement District Board member Dave Cockerton.

Kershaw disagrees with that assessment.

"This committee was formed to serve the interests of Pat Shannon and the Improvement District board members," Kershaw said. "They are dead set on completing an agreement (for water) between Washoe County and the GID. I can't say if that's good or bad, because Storey County officials aren't privy to any of those agreements. No one in Rainbow Bend knows what it says and we have that legal right. This information is public record."


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