By Lukas Eggen Ely Times Staff Writer

A closed personnel session concerning District Fire Chief John Shearman was cancelled earlier this week. A public session will be rescheduled. According to NRS 241.031 (1) (B), Shearman’s personnel matters cannot be held in a closed session.

“A manager or senior administrator, according to the NRS, is to be evaluated or have their personnel matters of performance and conduct and those sorts of things are to be discussed in public,” Commissioner Mike Coster said.

The issues that will be discussed during the personnel session are not known. But, regardless of the outcome, Coster said he’s pleased that Shearman will have a chance to state his case as well.

“I’m glad John Shearman is going to get the proper formality in discussing his progress with the Commission,” Coster said. “…I’m glad that today we had a formal, proper interruption to make sure he’s afforded all the due process that any employee should be afforded during the process of evaluating their performance, particularly if any one commissioner has something adverse in mind.”

Commissioner Richard Howe said the public session was tentatively scheduled for the Commission’s meeting on July 24 where his personnel issues will be discussed. Shearman does have supporters, as two people spoke on Shearman’s behalf during public comment. And that is one positive sign, Coster said.

“I was really glad to see for the short period of time John’s been here, and it has been a period of transition for him, that he’s developed as much support from the volunteers,” Coster said. “Our volunteers make up 97 percent of people who deliver fire and EMS services for the County. Working with them, working with their habits and working to make improvements is critical.”

Shearman said he did not receive specifics as to what issues the Commission wanted to discuss. But he said he is proud of the work he’s done so far for the County, even though the transition is still going on.

“I’m very proud of everybody I work with in my department,” Shearman said. “I don’t know what the issues were for today, so I can’t comment on that. I’m grateful for everyone I work with. It takes a tremendous amount to be a professional in this business and it’s extremely important to appreciate what people give of their time away from their families, sometimes their work and when they’re called to the line of duty. They’re contributing to the community. There’s no price to put on that. I don’t think it’s smoothed out yet because of the amount of change there is. It’s not going to be quick. I do believe that with the right support and backing, this can happen.”

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