Augustine witness resigns position
December 9, 2004
Today is the last day of work for one of the state controller’s office employees who testified during Kathy Augustine’s Senate impeachment.
Sherry Valdez turned in her letter of resignation Monday, which was Augustine’s first day back on the job, after receiving a mild reprimand on charges which could have resulted in removal from office. Valdez will begin work in a similar position with the state treasurer’s office Monday.
Valdez was one of only two witnesses, presented to either the Assembly or the Senate, who was still employed by the controller’s office.
She was basically forced to testify by the Nevada Attorney General’s Office. Valdez was obviously shaken during her testimony, admitting she was “very uncomfortable” discussing the occasions on which Augustine had her perform campaign work, such as stuffing envelopes. She appeared near a breakdown during questioning by special prosecutor Dan Greco in the Senate trial.
Chief Deputy Controller Kim Huys confirmed Thursday that Valdez’s last day with the controller is today.
“Monday, she gave us a letter of resignation, saying she was leaving the office Friday,” said Huys. “It’s my understanding she’s making a lateral transfer to another agency.”
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Valdez made it clear the Augustine case is the reason for her transfer.
“I knew if I testified that my job would be in jeopardy,” she said.
Augustine denied Valdez’s job was in danger, adding that she had not talked to Valdez since returning to work this week.
Transfers between agencies are common in state government. To get a transfer effective Friday, Valdez had to have applied for the job some time ago.
Huys said the office as a whole was operating smoothly this week.
“I came in Monday morning, and people were doing their jobs,” she said. “Everything was running normally.”
The Senate dismissed the most serious charges against Augustine – those of making state-paid staff do extensive work on her re-election campaign and using state computers to develop and maintain campaign records, including contribution and expense reports. Senators convicted her only of misusing office equipment such as phones, fax and copy machines.
While Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno, said the censure was designed to send a serious message to Augustine as well as other public officials, Augustine described it as no more than “a bawling out” – a parental scolding – and said she felt absolutely vindicated.
Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 687-8750.