IVGID trustees get in yelling match trying to fill empty board seat | TahoeDailyTribune.com

IVGID trustees get in yelling match trying to fill empty board seat

A screen shot from IVGID's meeting Wednesday, Dec. 18.

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Once a yelling match broke out between Incline Village General Improvement District trustees, it was pretty obvious the board wasn’t going to come to a consensus.

IVGID trustees voted Wednesday night to send the decision to replace Trustee Phil Horan to Washoe County after board members Tim Callicrate and Peter Morris lost their cool and traded verbal barbs.

“For the first time in four years, I’m going to cut off the conversation,” said Chair Kendra Wong.

Wong then went into a closed meeting with Interim General Manager Indra Winquest and Clerk Susan Herron to discuss the next steps, leaving thick tension in the room as trustees, candidates and members of the public expressed frustration with the evening.

Wong started the meeting by saying it was likely the board wouldn’t come to a consensus and the decision would be sent to Washoe County. This was before interviews even began, clearly leaving a bad taste in the mouths of several candidates.

The interviews were set to start at 4:35 p.m. with Alec Flores, but public comment pushed the first interview to 5 p.m.

Flores said he had an appointment at 5:15 and would like to come back later in the evening for his interview. He later came back to formally withdraw his name from consideration, leaving seven candidates.

The first full interview was Frank Wright, a resident who regularly attends and engages in IVGID meetings. During public comment, he insulted district attorney Jason Guinasso and the board as a whole.

During his interview, Callicrate said that despite him and Wright regularly butting heads, he appreciated Wright’s willingness to put his hat in the ring.

Several questions were asked of all of the candidates; Are you associated with True Blue or Jim Clark, someone who was involved in drama during the 2018 election? Does the board have the right to hire and fire staff? Do you support the acquisition of the Parasol building and will you run in the 2020 election?

Once the interviews were complete, Wong asked the board to each give their top three candidates.

This is when civility broke down.

Trustee Matthew Dent started by saying Sara Schmitz was his first, second and third choice.

“That’s all I’m willing to do,” Dent said. “We received hundreds of emails in support of Sara; more than any other candidate.”

Schmitz ran for Trustee in 2018 and lost by 14 votes to Callicrate.

Callicrate also said he would only support Schmitz. Both members said the community already showed their support for Schmitz in the last election, so they were listening to the will of the people.

Washoe County Commissioner Marsha Berkbigler, who represents Incline Village, said she sent an email to the trustees telling them to consider Schmitz for the same reason.

Trustee Peter Morris and Wong, on the other hand, both said candidates Michaela Tonking, Mike Hess and Tony Lillios (in no particular order) were their top three choices.

Morris said he found it concerning that Dent and Callicrate implied they would only work with Schmitz.

“I do take offense to being accused of not being willing to work with any of the candidates,” Callicrate said. “We knew going into tonight that we were going to be at an impasse.”

That statement led Morris and several candidates to wonder why the board even bothered with an interview process if they knew they weren’t going to choose a candidate.

Morris and Callicrate started yelling at each other, to the point where it was difficult to make out their words.

The board has until Jan. 8 to pick a candidate but decided no decision would be made.

Wong asked for a motion to send the top four candidates to Washoe County for a decision but didn’t get a second.

She then asked for a motion to let Washoe County pick any candidate and did get a second. Wong, Dent and Callicrate voted yes, while Morris voted no.

Morris told the Tribune, he would’ve liked the board to meet again about what they want in a candidate, something that was never discussed Wednesday evening.

“I’m disappointed in what the board did by not coming to a compromise on sending at least their top three or four choices to the commission,” Berkbigler said. “I’m disappointed but I’m not surprised.”

Berkbigler spent the day after the meeting talking with a district attorney and the county manager on the next steps. The commission has received the resumes and applications from the seven candidates but they will also open it up to other people who live fulltime in Incline Village or Crystal Bay.

She hopes to get a position posted on Monday, Dec. 23 and interview candidates in the next commission meeting on Jan. 14.

“We have no 30 day requirements for the county but we’re concerned about the constituents who won’t be represented without a full board,” Berkbigler said.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.