Republican Candidate--Dist. 5--W.C. Commissioner
Gary R. Schmidt
www.garyrschmidt.com - 775-674-2008 home/office
COMMISSIONERS REFUSE STAFF MEMBERS TO BE SWORN IN DURING HEARINGS
At the Washoe Board of County Commissioners Meeting, Tuesday, June 13th, Commissioners Weber, Humke and Galloway refused to support Commissioner Sferrazza's motion, "that all persons (including County staff members) who testify before the Washoe Board of County Commissioners; Planning Commission; and the Board of Adjustment; on quasi~judicial matters, be sworn in to take an oath under penalty of perjury." All members of the Public spoke in favor of Commissioner Sferrazza's motion.
The other quasi~judicial body, the Board of Equalization, is already required by state law to administer oaths to all persons testifying including staff. Some of these matters have criminal accusations at their base and could ultimately result in incarceration of accused parties.
Assistant District Attorney Melanie Foster opined that it was within the authority of the County Board to require oaths and that other quasi~judicial bodies in the State regularly do so. "When oaths are required they are required of all parties including staff," Foster said.
This opinion was in conflict with the current practice of the Board of Adjustment who only requires applicants and appellants to take an oath but refuses to require the County staff to be sworn in. Therefore, the agenda item was brought forward by Commissioner Sferrazza at the request of Gary Schmidt, also a candidate for County Commission District 5 against incumbent Bonnie Weber.
Schmidt had recently appeared before the Board of Adjustment on a matter whereby he was accused of "illegally?" "storing?" a 1923 Kiesel ladder fire engine from the Harrah's Auto Collection in his private desert park garden museum on his 34-acre residential property in the Steamboat/Pleasant Valley area. The County classified the Kiesel as a "junk" vehicle. During that hearing Schmidt and his witnesses were required by existing Board of Adjustment rules to testify under oath but when Schmidt requested that the County staff who he accused of lying, to also be required to testify under oath, the Board of Adjustment refused his request. The matter is currently pending review in District Court. Schmidt had previously adjudicated a matter against the County where the Court found that a County staff member had repeatedly "not told the truth".
Both Commissioner Sferrazza and Candidate Schmidt claimed that Weber, Humke and Galloway's refusal to support the requirement of oaths under penalty of perjury, allows County staff members to lie at will with impunity in these matters.
Candidate Schmidt said that he has supported the oath requirement for years as a "no brainer" necessary policy, to level the playing field and to keep staff truthful in hearings. Schmidt has pledged during his campaign that if elected to the Commission he would support and push for these requirements. "This is just another example of incumbents Weber and Humke's blind support of an abusive and oppressive County Government by their refusal to protect the personal and property rights of the Citizens that they are supposed to represent. We need a County Commission that is willing to protect the Citizens from their own Government" Schmidt said.
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