Ask Joe: Conflict for some Lyon County Commissioners?

Reported by: Joe Hart
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Updated: 2/04 5:38 pm
Question:
From The Ask Joe file one of our viewers has a question about some ethical questions concerning an upcoming vote in Lyon County.
Lisa Manning wrote in on December 30, 2013 saying Lyon Ccounty Commissioners  are preparing to vote on a contentious land issue this week involving Comstock Mining.  She says commissioner Vida Keller's husband currently has a contract with Comstock Mining and she wants to know if it's ethical for her to vote on this issue?

Answer:
Comstock Mining will be coming before the Lyon County Commission on Thursday, January 2nd to seek a zoning change for some land in Silver City.  Just to clarify it is only a zoning change at this point.  The company has not specified what its specific plans are.

I checked with Lyon County Manager Jeff Page about this. He says questions have been raised about commissioner Keller's husband who works for a non-profit that does receive money from Comstock Mining and another commissioner as well, Bob Hastings, who accepted $10,000 from Comstock Mining during the last election according to the Nevada Secretary of State's office.
Jeff page told me he asked the commissioners about this and they told him they had each spoken with  the state ethics commission and were told they were clear to vote.
However,  I checked with the executive director of the ethics commission...Caren Cafferata-Jenkins and she told me the ethics commission has not taken an official position on this issue.   That may be an issue down the road if someone decides to file an ethics complaint.
Again the vote is set for thursday morning January 2nd at the Lyon County Commission chambers in Yerington.  A big turn out is expected.

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9 Comment(s)
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masomenos - 12/31/2013 10:22 AM
0 Votes
Nancy Dallas, Dayton Valley native, has written a scathing blog about Lyon County Commissioners Keller and Hastings conflict of interest in CMI's change of Master Plan application. http://www.ndbynd.com/2013/12/30/articles/cmi-hearing-a-questioning-of-or-a-defining-of-lyon-county-ethical-standards Dallas characterizes this as a turning point in Lyon County ethics with future repercussions if Keller ad Hastings do not recuse.

Highstreet - 12/31/2013 8:55 AM
0 Votes
Another take-away from this story is that both Keller and Hastings lied to Jeff Page about their visits with the Ethics Commission. Isn't that all we need to know about how bent they are?

SMarshall - 12/31/2013 8:27 AM
0 Votes
According to NRS 281A.440(1), the Ethics Commission, if requested to give an opinion, must issue its opinion as soon as practicable or with 45 days after receiving a request. It appears neither Hastings or Keller have requested an opinion from the Ethics Commission. Since the vote is Thursday, they have now left themselves open for an ethics complaint, if they don't recuse themselves, because they did not request on opinion from the Ethics Commission. CMIs application has been in the works for greater than 45 days, so there is no excuse for not requesting an opinion.

al92lt1 - 12/31/2013 8:25 AM
0 Votes
Yes, we must do all we can to stop job creation in Lyon County.

Highstreet - 12/31/2013 6:30 AM
0 Votes
Another take-away from this story is that both Keller and Hastings lied to Jeff Page about their visits with the Ethics Commission. Isn't that all we need to know about how bent they are?

Highstreet - 12/31/2013 6:29 AM
0 Votes
Another take-away from this story is that both Keller and Hastings lied to Jeff Page about their visits with the Ethics Commission. Isn't that all we need to know about how bent they are?

Highstreet - 12/31/2013 4:00 AM
0 Votes
Poor CMI, unable to conceal its corrupting influence in Lyon County. Will this company be the Poster Boy for unethical corporate behavior in Nevada?

MElston - 12/30/2013 9:29 PM
0 Votes
GOOD CALL Lisa Manning! It is a conflict of interest for Hastings and Keller to vote on the CMI land use and zoning change; especially given Keller's demonstrated heretofore bias against the citizens of Silver City and clear support for CMI's mission (check out this fact-filled blog by RObert Elston for details http://www.sc-resistance.com/Site/Blog/Entries/2013/12/28_Money_and_Influence.html). The Lyon County Commission should expect an ethics complaint to be filed should Keller and Hastings neglect to recuse themselves and vote in favor of CMI's request.

Evangeline - 12/30/2013 9:27 PM
0 Votes
The ethics commission most certainly should rule on this issue. If Lyon County Commissioners have interests in the mining company or have take campaign contributions from them it is a clear ethics violation to then vote on this issue. Evangeline Elston
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