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Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
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March 13, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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March 13, 1997
 

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<7 ('o,Iimwd iiom trolll /)d' The ordinance as written (Bill No. 97-01 ) allegedly takes enormous provers that Nex ada law reserves to County Com- mission as a legislative body and would freely hand this power to the County manager in a newly, created capacity' as the Nye County Personnel Director. The apparent ability that the proposed ordinance would give to the County Manage, or his designee, to act in a capricious or arbitrary manner, is flightening to all county employees that were interviewed while researching this article. More than a dozen employees on the county pay- roll were contacted. They range from department heads to the lower echelons. The first person approached stated "this ordinance is not a merit system. This is a draft for corona- tion." The Gazette was later to find that agreement with this sentiment was notjust broad based but across the board. The majority of the county employees interviewed for this article clearly did not want their names used in print for obvious reasons. A small percentage, with some trepi- dation in their eyes and voices, did give their permission for their names to be used and viewpoints quoted. The Gazette has made an unilateral decision to protect all the names and to publish the story without revealing any county employee sources. For reasons that the Gazette hopes are obvious, to do otherwise could too easily and unnecessar- ily imperil county employees' jobs and livelihoods. A member of the Nye County Employees Association (NCEA) words "I thank God I'm a member of the union. If' the commission approves this ordinance, I feel sorry for any county employee that is not a union member." A member of the Nye County Sheriff's office made a point to remind the Gazette that when the County Commis- sion asked two county employee unions to make recom- mendations to how money could be saved in the county that the Number 1 first on the list recommendation from the NCLEA union, was to eliminate Rachel Nicholson's f pmdtion as Special Assistant to the N\\;e County Manager. which is costing Nye County $100.000 per year. Issues that the County Manager. acting in the capacity of the county personnel director could use to discipline o. dis- charge a county employee include, but are not limited to the folk)wing: "'Employee political activities, image of local government. public information, confidential information, employee courtesy and efficiency,, employee conduct which is con- trary to the good of the county service, outside employ- ment, full disclosure." The probation period is particularly discouraging to all who have read it. It would appear to give unprecedented power to the County Manager and reads as follows: "Probation Period. "A, All new employees and all promoted employees shall be appointed or promoted subject to a probation period. The length of the probation period shaq be established at the time of appointment or promotion, consistent with the personnel policies, but shall be a period no shorter than six (6) months nor longer than (2 years; provided, in any case the elected official or the administrative department head (with the approval of the County Manager) may extend the probationary period not to exceed an addition sic (6) months if the elected official or administrative department head finds it necessary to fully evaluate the employee's suitability for the position. "B. Any employee serving a probationary period, ex- cluding a probationary period being served by a promoted employee, is an at-will employee and such employee may be discharged or removed at any time with or without cause. A promoted employee who fails his or her probationary period may be discharged or removed at any time with or without cause. A promoted employee who fails his or her probationary period may be returned to his or her former position in his or her former classification, if such a posi- Pahrump Valley Gazette, Thursday, March 13, 1997 3 tion is available, at the discretion of the appointing author ity.'" The Gazette contacted, by telephone, the Nye County Manager's Special Assistant, Ms. Rachel Nicholson, and asked if there was a contradiction between Nevada State Law and the wording of the ordinance. NRS 245.214 requires the County Commisskm (a legis- lative body) to administer a merit system for county em- ployees it one is put in place by cotmty ordinance. The proposed ordinance on page 8, 238.040-A, states. The board (of County Commissioners) recognizes that the management of the county and the administration of the personnel affairs of the county are administrative matters and are not legislative functions. Ms. Nicholson's response to the apparent inconsisten- cies between state law and the proposed ordinance were words to the effect that, "I see no contradiction to the Ne- vada Statutes nor any problem with the ordinance as writ- ten." Ms. Nicholson suggested that this writer, among other things, contact Larry Belier in Carson City for clarification in the matter. Ms. Nicholson identified Mr. Beller as an entrepreneur that the county had hired as a consultant for assistance in writing the personnel merit system ordinance. Mr. Beller's office was contacted by the Gazette. The call was not returned. Nye County Commissioner from District 3, Bobby Re- vert, after an initial review of the proposed ordinance stated, "This ordinance needs to be rewritten and the commission needs to be in charge of administering any county person- nel mei'it system that we approve. The County Manager is not God." Other county commissioners were not able to be con- tacted by deadline. An update on this matter will appear in a future edition of the Gazette. 482-301 6 No to Abuse 751 -111 8 Tonopah 24 Hr. Crisis Line Pahrump Primary care, laboratory and radiology services Affiliated visiting medical specialists Special series of educational lectures for seniors Most major insurances accepted Office Hours: M-F, 8 am to 12 pm and 1 to 5 pm Have questions? We will be happy to assist you. 1 1 5 1 S Highway 1 60 " Pa h i r u lr ill "11111 It 00Summit Family Healthcare A Division of Desert Springs Hospital 727-5509 m p, Nevada 89048