Emotions still running high among Lyon County officials | NevadaAppeal.com

Emotions still running high among Lyon County officials

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer

Hard feelings between a Lyon County commissioner and the county manager are not yet a thing of the past, despite the 5-0 vote at last week’s special meeting to retain Donna Kristaponis.

At Thursday’s regular meeting, Commissioner Phyllis Hunewill suggested that no commissioner have a private meeting with the county manager. All correspondence with Kristaponis should take place in the public meetings, she said.

“There should be no further independent meetings with commissioners, so all communications are in open session,” Hunewill said. “All proposals need to be in writing with appropriate documents attached.”

Her voice tense, Hunewill took the opportunity during commissioners comments to advise Kristaponis that she would continue to be active in issues such as the Mason Valley Skate Park and the Smith Valley Senior Center, where she might come in contact with department heads.

“I want the county manager to know there are other staff members I will run into from time to time, and I want to be able to talk about these things to them,” she added.

Commissioner Leroy Goodman was incredulous.

“If I’d like to talk to the county manager, I’ll talk to her whenever I like,” he said. “You’ve got to be kidding about this.”

Hunewill said she was referring to meetings with the county manager, not socializing. “Since I was accused of going behind her back to department heads, I think we should only meet in public meetings,” she said. “I was not talking about socializing.”

Goodman suggested that the restriction applied to conversations among commissioners as well.

“We should then not have any contact with each other outside of public meetings,” he said.

Commission Chairman Bob Milz reminded the board of their responsibilities and the agreement that had been worked out with the county manager last week.

“Our tasks are to set policy and approve the budget,” he said. “Let’s not air out problems with the county manager until we get the facilitator that Steve (Englert) is setting up.”

Englert, Lyon County Human Resources director, last week suggested a facilitator or mediator to help the commissioners and Kristaponis work out their differences.

Kristaponis had no reaction to the exchange, and no comment on it.

Kristaponis was able to keep her job after residents, county department heads and officials from other counties spoke on her behalf.

The reason for the attempt to dismiss her has not been given.

Englert said at the meeting he has asked the Cooperative for Human Resources Management, run by the Nevada Public Agency Insurance Pool Public Agency Compensation Trust, to interview three qualified facilitators to possibly handle the mediation.

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111 ext. 351.