Guard fired for off-duty pot smoking reinstated | NevadaAppeal.com

Guard fired for off-duty pot smoking reinstated

A Nevada prison guard fired after being turned in for smoking pot at his son’s wedding in Utah has been reinstated.

Hearing officer Bill Kockenmeister ruled the evidence in the case doesn’t support termination in Guy Bachman’s case.

Bachman has worked at Nevada State Prison for 18 years. The decision points out that all his performance evaluations throughout those years have been at or above standards and that he has never been the subject of a disciplinary action.

He was seen smoking marijuana at his son’s wedding by Ken Sanders, a computer technician for corrections in Las Vegas, who reported the incident.

After an investigation, prison officials ordered Bachman terminated for the violation.

Kockenmeister said that punishment was not warranted. He said the emphasis supported by the governor’s office in drug and alcohol cases is on rehabilitation and referral to an assistance program and that all discipline should be progressive.

To justify such severe discipline, Kockenmeister’s decision states, “The cause must be one touching the qualifications of the officer or the performance of his duties showing that he is not a fit or proper person to hold the office.”

He said there are no allegations of security violations in Bachman’s case.

He “smoked marijuana out of state while on annual leave and, therefore, his actions do not support a finding that he committed a crime affecting the performance of his duties,” the decision states.

He also noted that Bachman was “truthful and forthcoming, readily admitting that he smoked marijuana while out of state on annual leave,” and that he voluntarily sought professional guidance for the violation.

Ruling there is no evidence Bachman’s conduct brought disgrace to the Department of Corrections, Kockenmeister ordered Bachman reinstated as a correctional officer at NSP with full back pay and benefits to July 6.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.