Incline Village board separates with Manager Winquest despite community outcry
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. – Despite pleas from the community, the Incline Village General Improvement District Board of Trustees voted to approve a separation agreement with General Manager Indra Winquest.
Winquest, who has been with the district for two decades, began as Interim General Manager in 2019 and was officially hired as GM in 2020. His contract was set to expire on June 30, 2024.
Winquest was scheduled to have an annual review June 14 during the board of trustees meeting but the item was removed from the agenda after Chair Matthew Dent announced Winquest was voluntarily separating from the district.
A special meeting was held at 5 p.m. on Friday June 23 to accept the separation agreement.
“As a board, we recognize Indra’s impact on the families and our community over his many years of service in his various roles from starting as a clerk to General Manager,” Dent said at the beginning of the meeting.
The community turned out to show support for Winquest. More than 30 members of the community spoke, with the majority being in support of Winquest.
They discussed his kindness, his love for the community and the way he had touched many of their lives. They also said if the board had issues with him, they should have given him an improvement plan.
Many members of the community accused Dent, along with Trustees Sara Schmitz and Ray Tulloch, of running him out of the role with their in-fighting and micromanaging. A recall notice for Dent and Schmitz was circulated during the meeting.
There was outrage about the meeting being scheduled on a Friday, the fact that the meeting was held in a room too small to hold all the community members that were there and that Schmitz didn’t attend in person.
Dent said because of the Juneteenth holiday, Friday was the soonest they could hold the meeting while still adhering to the public noticing requirements, adding they tried to schedule the meeting for Thursday. Schmitz was sick but still watched and participated in the meeting remotely.
Those in support of Winquest’s separation said just because he was a nice guy didn’t qualify him to lead the district.
Dent read a message from Winquest, who was on vacation and couldn’t attend the meeting.
“I’m sorry I’m unable to attend the meeting. I’m thankful for all the community support. My only request is that everyone is respectful of staff, board members, and fellow community members,” the message stated.
Trustee Dave Noble said, “it is a grave mistake by this board to terminate his contract.”
He added Schmitz’ micromanagement of staff was the problem, at which point Schmitz cut in to say that was not part of the agenda item. Noble asked for an agenda item to be added in the future to discuss her behavior.
Schmitz said she was getting conflicting information about what Winquest wants and said she’d prefer to have him go through the performance review process rather than this voluntary separation agreement.
Trustee Michaela Tonking shamed the board saying they hadn’t been acting in the community’s best interest and were at times, acting outside of their duties.
With the loss of staff the district has experienced, Tonking said the next board meeting should not be “business as usual,” rather they should discuss how they plan to move forward.
The board voted 4-1, with Tonking providing the no vote, to accept the separation agreement.
Paul Navazio, Director of Finance, will act as Interim General Manager. Winquest will receive, “severance pay equal to owed salary for the remaining term of his contract and $36,124.03. These amounts would be paid bi-monthly in equal installments. This is currently estimated at $269,037.73 based on July 1, 2023 separation date,” the agreement stated.
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