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Citizen activist trades jabs with county officials

Susan Voyles

3/4/2005 11:32 pm

A citizen activist on the Washoe County Board of Equalization is being subjected to a personnel hearing because of a “vendetta against the entire District Attorney’s Office,” according to County Manager Katy Singlaub.

Singlaub said board member Gary Schmidt’s “vendetta” was “completely interfering” with property tax appeal cases heard by the tax board in February.

That’s according to an e-mail memo Singlaub sent Feb. 10 to County Commission Chair-woman Bonnie Weber and Vice Chairman Bob Larkin.

Schmidt responded: “I have no vendetta against anyone. I just want to get bad people out of government.”

The owner of the Reindeer Lodge, Schmidt, 61, received the memo Thursday after demanding all county documents leading up to his closed-door personnel hearing with the commission Tuesday. He could be booted off the board.

His lawyer, Glade Hall, filed a court action Friday seeking a delay to prepare a case.

Singlaub said Friday that she cannot discuss a personnel issue. “We’ll see what the board decides next week. Our goal is to maintain decorum in our proceedings.” In the e-mail, Singlaub said she had just spoken with Steve Sparks, the tax board chairman, and he said he was going to quit if the county didn’t “do something about Gary Schmidt immediately.”

District Attorney Richard Gammick said he is offended that Schmidt insisted on Deputy District Attorney Terry Shea being forced to take an oath before answering questions.

“That will not happen again. All officers of the court are to represent themselves truthfully,” Gammick said. “Some of his grandstanding and posturing, I’m not putting up with this any more,” Gammick said.

Schmidt has been busy in February:

o He filed an open-meeting law complaint against the County Commission for allowing Gammick to speak on an issue at its Feb. 15 retreat while denying him the same privilege.

o Schmidt is demanding all public records surrounding retired assistant district attorney Madelyn Shipman’s recent withdrawal of a $50,000 contract offer to lobby for the county at the Legislature. He questions the contract being drawn up and put on the agenda while she was still employed by the county.

o As acting tax chairman, he made a fuss over not being allowed to conduct the Pledge of Allegiance on Feb. 23. He has filed a court action against the tax board’s district attorney, Pete Simeoni, who advised that the pledge was not on the agenda.

o Also on Schmidt’s behalf, Hall has sent a letter to fire department and sheriff’s officials, claiming they’re responsible for $5 million in the loss of Schmidt’s home, barn, belongings and dog in the Andrew fire Aug. 25.

Schmidt is claiming $3 million for the loss of his dog and family heirlooms alone. Officials have denied any responsibility.

Copyright © 2006 The Reno Gazette-Journal

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