‘Transparency’ articles

What is IVGID so intent on hiding?

IVGID management keeps financial information from its governing board
so that the public can also be kept uninformed, says board chair Wong

It’s not just public-record emails that Incline Village General Improvement District management is fighting to keep from the public.

Top IVGID administrators have also been stonewalling efforts by two trustees — including the IVGID treasurer — to see basic district financial records.

It was about an hour and a half into IVGID’s board meeting last week that the district’s fear of more financial transparency was explicitly acknowledged.

Doing so was IVGID General Manager Steven Pinkerton’s most voluble ally on the board, Chair Kendra Wong.

Board Treasurer Matthew Dent had just explained why his evaluation of the GM showed more “Needs Improvement” entries this year than last. Each trustee is required to fill out the annual evaluations.

“A lot that,” he said, “had to do with information I was requesting. Emails were either being ignored, or being responded to with incorrect information.”

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IVGID officials caught in false testimony

State’s top authority refutes district’s compliance claims

Functionaries of Incline Village’s local government repeatedly insisted last week that their sudden scheme to destroy all emails to and from top executives after 30 days had the State of Nevada’s stamp of approval.

The very next day, however, the state’s top authority on the matter explicitly denied their assertions.

“As Administrator I have not approved the Incline Village General Improvement District's current records retention policy whereby all emails older than 30 days are deleted,” responded Jeffrey Kintop, administrator for the Nevada State Library, Archives and Public Records.

Kintop had been copied on the original email that first revealed IVGID administrators had promulgated a new “retention policy,” allowing them to destroy — or at the very least withhold — all public-record emails.

IVGID Clerk Susan Herron, executive assistant to General Manager Steven Pinkerton as well as his appointed public-records officer, had sent that original email to Tahoe resident Mark E. Smith, explaining why IVGID was denying him virtually all of the email records he’d requested.

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IVGID’s efforts to conceal
public records gets bizarre

Staff blandly admits felony-level destruction of email records

Has Incline Village’s often-criticized local government — the Incline Village General Improvement District, or “IVGID” — finally gone off the deep end?

According to district staff, members of the public can no longer review any history of top administrators’ email communications on matters of public controversy, or anything else, older than 30 days.

The reason, District Clerk Susan Herron told records-requester Mark E. Smith, is that, for emails, the district suddenly has a new 30-day “retention policy.”

Such a policy would directly contradict state law, which makes it a C class felony to destroy or conceal emails and other public records.

Herron, who also has the titles Executive Assistant and Public Records Officer, answers to IVGID General Manager Steven Pinkerton, who, along with IVGID Public Works Director Joseph Pomroy, was the subject of Smith’s requests under the Nevada Public Records Act.

Smith is a longtime activist on north Lake Tahoe’s problem with roving bears and the unsecured garbage and waste containers that attract them.

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LVMPD going rogue on violent-crime statistics?

Abandons long-established FBI Uniform Crime Reporting standards

Is Las Vegas Metro doctoring its public reports to downplay a significant amount of violent crime?

Since 2011, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has been reporting robberies as “crimes against property,” rather than crimes against persons.

That departs significantly from the standards used by the FBI and virtually all other U.S. police agencies since the 1930s, when crime-reporting procedures for law-enforcement agencies became standardized under the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (“UCR”) Program.

Until 2011, Metro’s crime reporting also conformed to UCR standards — under which, “violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.” (Emphasis added.)

The remaining types of Category 1 offenses — burglary, larceny, and auto theft — constitute crimes against property.

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Metro wants lawmakers to
believe in ‘magical number’

Staffing claims by LVMPD sheriff contradict 15 years of Metro’s own violent-crime data

Arguing for yet another Clark County sales-tax increase ostensibly dedicated to hiring more police officers, Las Vegas Metro Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told state lawmakers Monday that two officers per 1,000 residents is a “magical number” for police staffing.

While national authorities on appropriate police staffing levels almost universally criticize use of such ratios, Lombardo never acknowledged that consensus.

Instead, he pointed to the years immediately after the enactment of the “More Cops” Sales Tax Initiative and argued that the increased hires it permitted had forced crime downward.

Said Lombardo:

“Specifically, the years 2007 through 2011, that’s where we crested that two officers per thousand, and if you look at the crime numbers in Clark County, directly associated to that crest of two officers per thousand, you can see that [crime] is decreasing.

“And then after 2011, with the population increase and the downfall of the economy, and the inability to hire folks, [crime] started to increase. So I’m a firm believer that cops make a difference.”

Shortly thereafter, Bill McBeath — Cosmopolitan CEO and Chairman of Metro’s Committee on Fiscal Affairs —testified remotely from Las Vegas, echoing Lombardo:

“When you see the delta between when we did hit the two per thousand and the reduction in crime rates, and you see the increase in crime rates as we went away from it, there’s a linear relationship. This is not subjective.”

However, actual violent crime numbers reported by Metro do not support what Lombardo and McBeath told lawmakers.

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Metro pushes for even more ‘More Cops’ taxes

Enlists powerful tourism committee in bid for higher, longer taxation

LAS VEGAS — To get Clark County voters to pass the 2004 “More Cops” sales-tax ballot measure, Metro’s then-sheriff and other local-government officials repeatedly and very publicly promised the funds would only be used to put more police on the street.

Nevada lawmakers early the next year made the same pledge and even wrote it into state law.

Ten years later, however, lawmakers and Metro both quietly, but explicitly, broke that promise.

The pledge was removed from state law and Metro’s Fiscal Affairs Committee was authorized to spend More Cops dollars, not for new hires but to meet other rising costs — such as record and rapidly escalating police retirement benefits.

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PERS releases Social Security numbers
of over 100 retired and current judges

In apparent attempt to avoid transparency, Nevada’s retirement system causes huge security breach

In an apparent attempt to skirt Nevada’s transparency laws, the Nevada Public Employees’ Retirement System has released the Social Security numbers and other identifying information of over 100 current and retired Silver State judges.

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CCSD spent over $13,000 discussing controversial sex-ed program

Plan was to ‘impact’ individuals throughout
community, school district; allegedly skirt parents

LAS VEGAS — The Clark County School District spent over $13,000 this year to discuss the child sex-education advocacy program that made headlines when it was reported that the district was considering teaching masturbation to Kindergartners.

The amount CCSD spent on the program led by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) comes from documents released by CCSD in response to public-record requests.

Over $9,750 went to pay SIECUS to provide “professional facilitation” in multiple CCSD focus groups, according to two purchase orders. Printed materials for the events cost another $3,328.

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CCSD police dispatcher transferred
from post as new details emerge in
Angela Peterson death case

Jail-house phone call: “My mom’s going to go to jail now.”

LAS VEGAS — A Clark County School District police dispatcher who’s been named a defendant in the Angela Peterson wrongful death lawsuit was transferred out of her police department post Friday.

According to multiple sources, employees of the department received an email notice — "effective immediately" — stating Tina Zuniga is "no longer an active employee of the Clark County School District Police Department," and "should be afforded the same access and courtesy to CCSDPD facilities as would be extended to a visitor."

While Zuniga will "continue to be an active member of the Clark County School District," sources say, employees were asked not to communicate with Zuniga in the future regarding any official matter considered confidential by the district's police department.

Zuniga's transfer comes after what appears to be a recording of a 2011 jail-house phone call was submitted to school police internal affairs.

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Administrator on CCSD payroll working
for another state government?

District investigation underway

LAS VEGAS — Has one of the Clark County School District’s department honchos found a way to eat taxpayer cake in two separate states at the same time?

It appears so.

In Southern Nevada, for nearly 12 years, Bramby Tollen was the director of CCSD’s purchasing and warehouse department. Then this March, according to district officials, she was transferred to the CCSD human resources department as an “Administrator on Special Assignment” — while continuing to earn a base salary of $104,760 a year, plus $1,800 annually for longevity.

Tollen’s total pay and benefits for the 2013 calendar year were $140,663.82, according to CCSD information on Transparent Nevada.

However, as of June 13, Snohomish County, Washington, has had a new purchasing manager — also named Bramby Tollen.

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