Douglas commissioner expected to resign |

Douglas commissioner expected to resign

William Ferchland

Five months after being charged with misdemeanor embezzlement and a month after serving eight days in jail, Steve Weissinger is expected to announce his resignation from his seat on the Douglas County Board of Commissioners.

Weissinger, who did not return repeated phone calls, is expected to submit a resignation letter at a 1:30 p.m. meeting today at county offices in Stateline.

A report of Weissinger’s resignation, expected to be effective at the end of the year, appeared in a Reno newspaper on Wednesday.

Commissioner Bernie Curtis told the paper the other board members had encouraged Weissinger to resign.

“I think that Steve has done what is right,” Curtis said. “I hope he can get his life together and move on.”

The resignation would culminate a tumultuous chain of events for Weissinger, who was arrested in June at Raley’s in South Lake Tahoe where he worked as a store manager. Store security found a $100 bill in Weissinger’s pocket. He said it was a cash handling mistake.

Last month Weissinger was sentenced to spend 10 days in El Dorado County Jail after pleading no contest to one charge of misdemeanor embezzlement and agreeing to pay $1,315 in restitution. Two other misdemeanor charges were dropped. Prosecutors alleged embezzlement had been going on for months.

“To say it has been a difficult time the past five months for me personally would be an understatement,” Weissinger reportedly wrote in the letter. “I fully accept responsibility for my actions, faults as a man and human being.”

He was elected to the commission in 1996, then re-elected in 2000.

Kathy Farrell, executive director of the Tahoe Douglas Chamber of Commerce, helped write a letter of support from the chamber on behalf of Weissinger.

“At this point in time I was not surprised,” Farrell said of Weissinger’s impending decision to leave the board. “I thought he would do the right thing and he did.”

Don Miner, a former Douglas County commissioner, said he could not remember a board resignation in his 25 years in the county. Miner described Weissinger as a “hardworking, dedicated public official” who was consistently prepared on the roughly 50 items on every agenda packet.

“I think overall Steve looked at the situation and the concerns his fellow commissioners had and thought it was in the best interests of his county and family to pass the baton,” Miner said. “Although he didn’t have to do it legally, I think on balance it was the appropriate thing to do.”

Douglas County District Attorney Scott Doyle has said Weissinger’s plea and jail time were not grounds to lawfully boot him off the commission.

While his legal matters have ended in El Dorado County, Weissinger is scheduled for a Dec. 10 hearing at Carson City Justice Court for alleged drunken driving.

Weissinger’s vacancy will allow an opening for Gardnerville Ranchos residents to apply for the District 1 seat. Applicants must have lived in the area for at least 30 days and be a Republican. The person, who will be chosen by Gov. Kenny Guinn, will be up for election in November 2004.