Public hearing next step in GID board dissolution proposal
Appeal Staff Writer
The wheels are officially in motion to dissolve the Silver Springs General Improvement District board of trustees.
Lyon County Commissioner Larry McPherson proposed an ordinance dissolving the board, despite opposition from a former board member at the commission meeting Thursday.
The GID operates a sewage system in Silver Springs. The matter will be heard at a public hearing, though no date has been set.
Robin Harina, a former GID board member, accused McPherson of pursuing dissolution of the board despite not having found environmental or financial compliance issues.
“You are doing this strictly on hearsay,” she said.
But Ray Johnson, former plant operator, encouraged the board to dissolve the GID board and take over the plant.
“This board is still, and continues to be, dysfunctional,” he said. He told the commissioners that some board members are enlisting the help of employees in a campaign against board member Kay Bennett.
Johnson told of an e-mail dated March 22 that was sent to contract plant operator Bob Loding by GID office assistant Glenda Gee looking for information to use against Bennett.
Gee did not return a phone call seeking comment.
At the GID meeting Thursday, plant worker Gary Polacek submitted a letter of resignation. In it, he accused Bennett of unprofessional conduct and harassment.
The GID board has had high turnover of employees and board members in recent years, and has hired a lawyer at the behest of Chairman Bob Freeman to challenge the legitimacy of board member Bennett. He believes she has a conflict of interest. Bennett is co-manager of the Silver Springs Airport, which takes the effluent from the district’s sewage treatment plant.
Bennett, 70, has in turn filed an open meeting law violation against the board, and has been the target of a sexual harassment complaint by a plant worker.
The GID board voted to also hire Gladding & Michel, a Reno private investigations firm, to investigate the worker’s complaint.
A second open meeting violation complaint has been filed against the GID by a different person, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.
If approved, the proposed ordinance would make the Lyon County Commissioners the ex-officio board of the GID, much the same as the Willowcreek GID.
At the commissioner’s meeting, resident Don Harina accused the board of “creating a lack of civility. You chose to support certain people.”
Commission chairman Phyllis Hunewill told Harina that testimony will be taken at an upcoming public hearing in Silver Springs and assured him the commissioners were keeping an open mind.
“You are on a level playing field,” she said. “It won’t change without three votes after a public hearing.æ
District Attorney Bob Auer said that in addition to publishing notice of the hearing, when a date is selected, the county would send meeting notices to all GID customers, qualified electors and property owners in the district.
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at email@example.com or 882-2111, ext. 351.
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