After hearing push back from members of the community, the Incline Village General Improvement District Board of Trustees on Wednesday, April 25, tabled a proposal that would have removed correspondence from board packets.
Instead the board decided not to act on the proposal recommended by Vice Chairman Phil Horan in order to allow for more research into how other jurisdictions handle correspondence.
Some of the same community members who objected to the proposal also asked legislators at a community meeting on April 20 to fix state law so there’s more public oversight of the IVGID.
Per the memo that spelled out the recommendation, the inclusion of correspondence to the board and district became part of the board packets in 1999, when email was used less commonly. With the technological advancements over the past 19 years, the inclusion of correspondence in board packets is less crucial, the recommendation argued.
Horan said he checked with about a dozen jurisdictions and none of them include correspondence in their packets.
However, residents cried foul, saying the proposal was an attempt to remove dissent and the views of the public from the official record.
That was, Horan stated, not the point of the recommendation. Adding that he was surprised by the blowback, Horan said there was nothing in the proposal that would prevent the public from communicating with the board or the district. Further, there is nothing in the recommendation that prevents the public form accessing those communications.
Recognizing those facts, the proposal may pose a perception problem, mainly that IVGID is trying to squash opposing opinions, Trustee Tim Callicrate said.
"I don't have a problem with how it's currently being handled," he added.
Trustee Matthew Dent drew a similar line, asking Horan what was the problem the board was trying to solve with the proposal.
Chairwoman Kendra Wong and Trustee Peter Morris also expressed some hesitation regarding the proposal, at which point Pinkerton offered a suggestion that the board not take action and allow for more research into how other jurisdictions handle correspondence. Horan said he was OK with that approach and the board decided not to act on the proposal.
Members of the public also blasted the board's policy limiting public comment to 3 minutes at the beginning and 3 minutes at the end of the meetings. The meeting broke out into a shouting match twice when resident Steve Dolan attempted to comment on two different agenda items. After the second incident, Dolan was asked to leave the meeting.
Gary Schmidt, candidate for state Senate District 16, alleged the board, by allowing district general counsel Jason Guinasso to address the public during what can only be described as a screaming match, had violated the state's open meeting law.
"Your counsel addressed the public. The chair did not dress him down or silence him. Therefore public comments were consented silently. And … you cannot allow one person to make public comments, even your counsel, without allowing the entire body," Schmidt said. "You have clear open meeting law violation, and I hope that someone files it."