When Nevada Norther Railway Executive Director Mark Bassett read in last week’s edition of the Ely Times that the Railroad’s Board of Trustees were advertising in the legal section for applications for three of the five positions on the railroad’s management board, he was shocked.
“Nobody on the management board was told anything, I had no idea about this. I had to find it out from the newspaper,” Bassett said.
The Executive Director was under the understanding that only one member, Randy Larson, was set to have his term expire this year. That’s not the way the city sees it, as they also have both Roger Bowers and the board’s John Gianoli’s terms set to expire as of Sept. 30. The details of the expiring terms shouldn’t come as a surprise said City Attorney Chuck Odgers.
“We are simply following the bylaws. We are treating this like we do any other appointed board,” Odgers said.
The city attorney said that it was the railroad’s management board’s attorney Scott Husbands who originally drafted up the term expiration dates and that he is only following those terms. Scott Husbands was not available for comment as of press time.
But Bassett questions the motivation behind the “out of nowhere” news that a majority of the board is up for grabs. The Management Board had fought the city and the railroad’s board of trustees in court through a lawsuit that had claimed the trustees had improperly removed Gianoli and Vice-Chairman Steve Leith just one year ago. Bassett said that he thought the the trustees would hold off on appointing Gianoli’s and Bower’s seats until the lawsuit had come to it’s conclusion. Odger’s responded by saying that since the board dismissed the lawsuit earlier this year, there would be no reason for it to interfere with the city’s regular way of appointing people to public boards.
Anyone, including the current sitting members of the board, can apply through the city to be considered for appointment. Mayor Melody Van Camp will then make her appointments from those that applied, which each have to be confirmed by a majority vote from the railroad trustees in an open meeting. Odger’s said that he expects the vote to occur during the next Ely City Council meeting on Oct. 8, though the city is still waiting to receive applications.
The trustees and the management board have rarely seen eye to eye in the past two years, with members of the previous City Council often accusing the board of not cooperating with the trustee’s requests for information. Members of the management board and Bassett have also spoken out against the previous city council, saying that they went overboard with their information collecting methods during a forensic examination of the railroad’s books.
According to the city’s term expiration dates, the two remaining members of the management board will be Vice Chairman Steven Leith who expires on Sept. 30, 2016 and Carl Marsh who expires in Sept. 2017. The expiration dates were aligned to be on the same day, only varying by years in a management board meeting back in 2011.
Those that would like to submit an application for the board need to draft up a letter of interest and drop it off at City Hall before Oct. 7 at 5 p.m. The envelope should be marked on the outside with “Management Board Openings.” For more information on how to apply, call Ely City Hall at 775-289-2430.