Time for Lyon commissioners to set aside egos
Lyon County has grown dramatically in the past decade, but some of its commissioners continue to govern as if they were presiding over an Old West town. Residents deserve better, and it’s time for those commissioners to put aside their egos and get on with the people’s business.
The conflict began when commissioners Phyllis Hunewill and Bob Milz asked for County Manager Donna Kristaponis’ resignation in September. When she refused, they began termination proceedings.
But things didn’t go the way those two commissioners planned when more than 50 people showed up at a termination meeting to show their support for Kristaponis.
Hunewill would not even do those people the courtesy of explaining why she believed Kristaponis should be fired, leaving residents to read between the lines. The story that seems to emerge is of two county commissioners who do not like their authority questioned, even if they choose to work around, rather than with, the county manager. That’s not the way Lyon County government is supposed to work. As Kristaponis explained, the commissioners set the policy, and it is her job to work with department heads to implement it.
Based on the many comments made at her termination meeting, Kristaponis, a former Reno city manager, has done a marvelous job. That meeting should have been enough to send a strong message to Hunewill.
Instead, she fired the next shot on Thursday, proposing that no commissioner be allowed to have informal discussions with Kristaponis, meaning all their interaction would have to occur at public meetings. It’s an unreasonable, if not ridiculous, proposal.
Fortunately, much needed help is on the way in the form of a facilitator, who will work to improve the working relationship between Kristaponis and the commissioners.
Hunewill would have been wise to keep quiet with her latest idea until that process had begun. Quiet, that is, except for giving residents of Lyon County an explanation or, lacking that, a sincere apology.