John Gianoli reappointed to NNRy management board

City of Ely Administrative Assistant Jennifer Lee had to take a moment to catch her breath. She had just read a stack of letters sent into the special meeting of the Ely City Council on Monday as part of the public comment section of the agenda. After complaints from the  last meeting of the city council that the letters that were sent in to be read got longer than the three minute time limit during public comment, Lee raced against the clock to try and complete each letter. After catching her breath, she returned to the stack and continued reading at a measured, but accelerated pace.

Almost without exception, the 22 letters Lee read to the council expressed concerns about the way the city council had handled the interviews and nominations for the Nevada Northern Railway’s open management board positions at their meeting at the Bristlecone Convention Center on Oct. 8. Many of the letters were written by either railroad volunteers or financial backers and supported the three sitting management board members that were up for reappointment: chairman John Gianoli, Randy Larson and Roger Bowers.

The phrase “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” was uttered more than once.

But from the perspective of the mayor and two out of the five city council members, something has been “broke” and it needed to be fixed.

Mayor Melody Van Camp was in charge of nominating a candidate from the list of eight people for each open position on the management board. For the first nomination, Van Camp elected to nominate John Gianoli for the seat he previously held. After no discussion, the board of trustees unanimously approved the nomination, appointing Gianoli to another four year term.

But Gianoli was the only name of the three up for reappointment on the board that came out of the mayor’s mouth during the meeting. Before making her second nomination for Randy Larson’s  seat, Van Camp stated that she felt that new faces would be good for the board and reminded the packed audience inside the volunteer fire hall that the terms were not indefinite.

The mayor nominated Sean Pitts, a state historian that works for the state run part of the railroad’s museum. After no discussion, the trustees voted down the nomination 3-2, with Kurt Carson,  Jolene Gardner and Pat Robison comprising the three “nay” votes to Bruce Setterstrom’s and Sam Hanson’s two “yes” votes.

However, instead of making a second nomination for the position, Van Camp took no action after the vote and moved to the next seat, leaving Larson in the position he held for an indeterminate period of time until the board decides to revisit the issue.

The mayor made the same decision to take no action on Bower’s seat as well after her nomination of Brad Simpson was similarly shot down by Carson, Gardner and Robison. No discussion occurred before that vote either, despite Hanson stating that it “was the reason they were there.”

The lack of action taken on Bower’s and Larson’s seats offers a faint compromise among the two divided view points present at the meeting. Those that wanted all three previous management board members to retain their position got what they wanted but the mayor and the board of trustees can still return to the item to attempt to replace Bowers or Larson, should they run into similar difficulties in communication between the two boards.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Ely City Council will commence at the Volunteer Fire Hall at 5 p.m. on Oct. 22.

Members of the public packed into the Ely Volunteer Fire Hall on Monday for the special meeting of the Ely City Council. (Garrett Estrada photo)

Members of the public packed into the Ely Volunteer Fire Hall on Monday for the special meeting of the Ely City Council.
(Garrett Estrada photo)