Benefits board rejects charges against director

The Public Employee Benefits Program Board on Monday rejected allegations involving the conduct of Executive Officer Woody Thorne.

The decision came after more than five hours of closed-door hearings in two meetings last week and Monday. The personnel session ended without a public explanation of exactly what the accusations involved and without disclosing who made them.

The complaint reportedly questioned Thorne's relationships with other employees at PEBP as well as outside vendors, providers and consultants. It was conducted by the Nevada Division of Investigations.

A majority of the board agreed Monday the information they were presented was not substantiated. The board directed Thorne to write "a letter of apology to his staff dealing with deficiencies in the office environment" and finish the process of putting PEBP's internal policies and a code of conduct in writing.

But the majority decided not to discipline him and made it clear what whatever he was accused of didn't warrant removing him from his position.

"I don't think specific action is warranted," said board member David Smith.

"I see nothing based on the materials presented that would indicate to me there is anything in his professional competence to interfere with his ability to perform his duties on behalf of the board," said member Myla Florence.

The exception was Chairman Terry Johnson, who made it clear he believes stronger action should have been taken.

But Johnson, too, said he believes Thorne can continue to serve.

He urged Thorne to "take appropriate steps" to fix the situation.

Johnson was the lone vote against the board action.

Thorne declined comment, except to say he suggested the letter "concerning how we deal with our staff both internally and externally."


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