The Ely Times

The Ely Shoshone Tribe’s agenda item on the Ely city council meeting came up for discussion. Trent Griffith, 23, manages the TSAA Dispensary and spoke before the Council hoping for the opportunity to negotiate a compact.

“We saw other opportunities to work with other governments around us, to make something more acceptable and for the tribe’s legitimacy in the industry.  I’m here again, for probably one last time if we can come to agreement on the compact, “ Griffith said.

Councilman Sam Hanson said, “Mr. Dice provided us with an email with some numbers of revenue. I think it would be highly desirable for the city especially for our present needs of additional funds, to take advantage of the offer that is being presented to us. I would like to make that motion.”

Cassandra Dittus,  program manager for this project, said “ I have been working with the tribe for three years. We have gone through a great amount of effort to get this going.

“We are a shared community, this is the opportunity for you guys, for you to build a bridge in a historical manner.  There have been multiple instances nationwide where tribes and cities partner on these types of instances.  we have approached you many times. This is a great opportunity for economic development.”

Hanson said, “I think what were looking at is a choice of going with someone we already know, who has offered us a very generous package, versus potential of dealing with one of 22 entities, who we do not know, probably don’t live here and consequently we don’t know what we’d be getting from them.

“We know were getting a much better deal from the Ely Shoshone Tribe.  It was confirmed that the Nevada Department of Taxation only received five applicants, not 22.”

The motion was made and approved.

On Monday, July 16, Mayor Melody VanCamp exercised her right to veto the city council’s action at the meeting on July 12 to meet with the tribe and negotiate a compact agreement.

In the Mayor’s letter she stated that she had contacted Jorge Pupo, deputy director of the Nevada Department of Taxation Marijuana Enforcement Division, after the meeting.

VanCamp said she questioned whether the Ely Shoshone Tribe held a state marijuana retail license. Pupo emailed VanCamp a summary stating “At this time, only current medical marijuana certificate holders may have a marijuana establishment on state land, and tribes may not operate on state land without going through the State application process.”

There was no indication during the meeting of the Ely Shoshone Tribe having a desire to open up another dispensary in city limits. The tribe’s store is currently on trust land, which doesn’t require them to have a license.

Department of Taxation was reached for comment, but nothing had been received as of this date.

It appears as though there are some technicalities that need some clarification at this point. The Ely Shoshone Tribe will be back on the city council agenda once again next week.

In other business, city councilman Kurt Carson seemed to have a lot of questions for City Administrator Robert Switzer that began a heated discussion between the two.

Fire Chief Ross Rivera stood before the council to give his monthly report and he commented about the recruitment process for open spots for firefighters that they currently have.

Carson asked Rivera how it was going and Rivera commented “slow.”

Carson then turned to Switzer and asked him when the job announcement closed and where he advertised for the positions?  Switzer answered that he had just posted the job announcement on that day in addition to

“Why would you put an ad on indeed today when it closes tomorrow? Carson asked.

Switzer said  “because we already have two applications.”

Carson said, “Do you know how much overtime we’re paying? I just pulled the numbers…do you realize how much overtime as of today?”

Switzer answered yes, and Carson preceded to ask him how much,  Switzer answered saying that he didn’t know the exact figures.

“I’ve been busy, I’ve been very very busy, so if you want to have this discussion later that’s fine,” Switzer said.

Carson said, “Do you want to call the high school and get our HR person too? You just put it on the day it closes tomorrow. That is unacceptable, at our last meeting you said you would put it on that Friday, you’ve got to be kidding me, that is unacceptable. No wonder you have hardly any applicants.”

Carson went on to mention that he wanted to go on record and note the amount of money that has been spent for overtime for the fire department.

“Excluding what we’re paying the fireman already, is $25 an hour, on an average, so we have $18 an hour in overtime.  right now were at $91,200, so in 96 hours we will be accruing $1,700 just in overtime.”

Switzer’s turn came to give his monthly report and Carson asked Switzer, “I heard you hired some help in the office, I would like to know how this hiring process occurred?”

Switzer answered, “The help who was hired who is no longer there was temporary help referred by a city councilman.”

Carson said, “Was this job advertised for?”

Switzer said, “No we don’t need to advertise for temporary positions we haven’t before.

“We advertise for career positions.”

Carson said, “And the last time we advertised for a career position it had to come before board for a position that had already been there.”

Things began to escalate between the two and Switzer said, “Kurt  that is an issue for this city council what they want to do, if we want to establish a procedure on how to hire then by all means.”

Carson replied to Switzer mentioning a previous conversation between City Attorney Chuck Odgers and the city council members recalling that Odgers even said himself the council chose for positions to come.

Switzer reiterated “career positions.”

Carson “so you can hire whoever you want.”

Carson said, “My heartache is, when Chuck lost his part-time position, Chuck stayed late, Chuck stays very late, he’s a workhorse. He’s been here til midnight some nights and got his work done, and I don’t know why Bob didn’t stay late.”

Switzer quickly interrupted Carson saying, “Mr. Carson if you want to have a personnel session you need to put it on the agenda.

Carson said, “I have a question for you Bob.”

Switzer said, “Well the question has been answered already.

Mayor VanCamp said, “Let’s move forward.” Carson said “I think we’ll be coming out with some more information for you, about you.”