DRAC may need to hold new election
Appeal Staff Writer
The Dayton Regional Advisory meeting originally planned for Jan. 4 has been postponed to Jan. 11 at the request of Lyon County Commissioner Bob Milz and Lyon County District Attorney Leon Aberasturi.
Acting DRAC chairwoman Mabel Masterman agreed to the change to help clear up a controversy that began at the Dec. 15 meeting of the Board of Commissioners. That day, the commissioners approved the appointment of Ken Gray in lieu of Richard Foley, who was recommended by DRAC, causing an uproar among DRAC board members.
“I felt it was best for the community,” she said. “The community voted one way and without consulting DRAC and without seemingly any public input. At the commissioners’ meeting, someone else was appointed to that position. I had some real concerns with muddying the whole scenario if the people who were not selected by the community were actually seated at the DRAC table.”
The board will meet on Jan. 5 to discuss the DRAC controversy.
Milz has said he would like the Dayton Regional Advisory Council to start its elections all over again.
He also plans to introduce an ordinance in the near future that would standardize advisory council elections for the seven disparate town sites.
“I think we need to make all these processes the same,” Milz said.
Barbara Peck, the outgoing chairwoman of DRAC, said she didn’t think a new election was needed.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said. “When you have a person who is nominated for a district, and that position had been advertised since August, and no one came forward. Then Richard Foley came forward, and he was unopposed, so why should he have to go through another election?”
Gray finished second to Terri Harris in an election for the District 3 seat.
Milz had argued that the DRAC election was incorrectly done and violated the council’s own bylaws.
Nancy Sbragia was appointed to represent District 1, and Dee Scott was named to fill the District 4 seat. Like Foley, both were unopposed.
“I don’t think this has ever happened in the history of local government in Lyon County,” Peck said. “We used the same procedure we’ve always used.”
Milz said DRAC’s practice of electing members “at-large” to represent districts they do not live in, if there are no district residents nominated, is not recognized by the county commissioners nor part of the 1999 bylaws, which require a representative to live in the district he or she represents.
There are two newer versions of the DRAC bylaws that were never approved by the county commissioners, Milz said.
Peck said the DRAC board made two attempts to file a copy of the bylaws in 2005, but the county lost the packet.
Lyon County District Attorney Leon Aberasturi sent a memo to Milz and county manager Donna Kristaponis questioning the legality of the elections when the board member does not meet the residency requirement stated in the 1999 bylaws approved by the commissioners. He said there were problems with residency requirements in the Stagecoach election as well.
“All of this is like a smokescreen,” Peck said. “The main issue that we have is DRAC made the recommendation for two people to fill District 2 and 3. Mr. Milz overrode those and appointed who he wanted on there. That’s the argument.”
Aberasturi suggested the board reconsider the nominations of Sbragia, Harris and Gray, since they do not live in District 4.
n Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at email@example.com or 882-2111, ext. 351.
If you go
WHAT: Lyon County Commission meeting
WHEN: 9 a.m. Jan. 5
WHERE: 27 S. Main St., Yerington
CALL: (775) 463-6531
WHAT: Dayton Regional Advisory meeting
WHEN: 7 p.m. Jan. 11
WHERE: 34 Lakes Blvd.
CALL: (775) 246-4457