Legislature should rethink role of public administrators

Lyon County's former public administrator is likely to plead guilty to stealing from a dead person, but there are far more victims here than just the family members who were to inherit the estate.

Those victims are all of the honest public officials whose integrity is damaged when someone uses their office for personal gain, as Jason McLean is alleged to have done.

Nearly all who serve in such offices do so because they wish to serve and have done nothing to deserve the doubt cast upon them by those who commit criminal acts under the guise of carrying out the duties of the position.

For their sake, we hope the Legislature heeds the words of Lyon County District Attorney Bob Auer, who said the case against McLean, as well as a pending civil lawsuit against McLean's predecessor, should be a catalyst for the Legislature to rework the position of public administrator, which is unpaid. The office is charged with securing the property of deceased people whose heirs were not immediately apparent.

"It's almost set up for failure, there should be some sort of specific salary instead of fees coming out of estates upon court approval," said Auer. "It's a recipe for failure."

We agree, and hope the Legislature finds a way to bring peace of mind not only to families of the deceased, but to all of those public officials who do their job with integrity.

This editorial represents the view of the Nevada Appeal Editorial Board.


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