Enge resigns as deputy director

Joe Enge resigned Thursday as deputy director of the Governor's Energy Office.

Enge, 44, said the resignation is effective Friday but that he would make himself available if someone needed to know the status of different projects or how to find different files. Both he and Energy Director Hatice Gecol said the decision was his and that no one asked him to resign.

He said all the controversy and attention focused on him "was distracting to the office."

"It's a small office, and it was overwhelming," he said.

Enge was named to the deputy's position Nov. 12 by Gecol, whom he has known for a number of years. His appointment was criticized by a number of people who questioned his qualifications for the position, which pays $65,000 a year.

He is a former high school history and government teacher, not an engineer or expert in any energy field.

Enge has been at the center of several education controversies for a number of years. His battles with school officials over history course content at Carson High eventually resulted in a negotiated settlement in which he resigned as a teacher in 2005. After his resignation, he ran for and won a seat on the Carson School District Board of Trustees in 2006.

He has authored a number of research and opinion papers on the need to reform public education for the conservative think-tank, the Nevada Policy Research Institute, and testified on education issues before the Nevada Legislature.

But most of the criticism focused on Enge's personal history, which includes two DUIs, a third DUI charge that was dismissed in 2006 and a recent early morning Nevada Day accident in which his car took out more than 30 feet of a backyard fence.

He was originally charged with leaving the scene of an accident in that case but the charge was reduced to speeding after he paid for the damage.

Enge also filed complaints saying he had been attacked by people on two different occasions. The most recent was when he claimed three men attacked him in a bathroom at the Carson Nugget. That case was closed by the Carson Sheriff's Office as "unfounded," and Nugget general manager Brian Smith said he has barred Enge from the Nugget because of it.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.


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