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        *March 2001
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ECTPL

JUST THE FACTS March 01, 2001 page four

IS IT TIME FOR A GRAND JURY?

As you may have read in the newspaper or learned about from radio or TV, two District Court Judges in Ormsby County have agreed to impanel a Grand Jury to investigate allegations of misconduct in the office of the District Attorney, Justice of the Peace and four Sheriff's deputies in Carson City.

On Tuesday, March 13, 2001 the Judges began selecting citizens who will be invited to serve on the Grand Jury. The Judges also said that they would request funds to allow the Grand Jury to hire its own attorney instead of using the District Attorney who, of course, is one of the targets of the investigation.

A significant number of Eureka tax payers would like to see a Grand Jury convened in Eureka County based on their beliefs that there are numerous instances of abuse in office here by officials or other improper conduct. After all, the last Grand Jury convened in Eureka was in 1945!

So how do Grand Juries get to be convened? Nevada State Law is very clear and straight forward about this matter.

Here's what we found when we checked into it. First, a Grand Jury must be convened in any Nevada County where the total population is under 100,000, whenever there is a petition containing the signatures of registered voters equal in number to 25% of the number of registered voters voting within the county at the last preceding general election and when the petition sets forth facts constituting the necessity of convening a Grand Jury.

You can read this for yourself in Nevada Revised Statutes 6.130

The same section of the NRS also gives a District Court Judge the discretion to summon a Grand Jury after an affidavit or verified petition by any tax payer accompanied by corroboration affidavits of two additional persons has been filed with the clerk of the court setting forth reasonable evidence upon which belief is based that there has been a misappropriation of public money or property by a public officer, or past officer, or if there is a belief that a fraud has been committed by an officer, or if there has been a breach of trust in office by an officer.

Would you like to add your name to the growing list of people who want a Grand Jury convened here? We want your input and we want to know what issues you think are important and which you believe should be investigated by a Grand Jury. And, if you're not already a registered voter, be sure to register now.

GOOD NEWS ITEM!

The Eureka Board of County Commissioners has been directed by the Nevada State Attorney General's Office to start complying with the State's Open Meeting Law!

In a strongly worded memorandum of March 7, 2001, which was faxed to the local DA from the AG the AG noted that they previously warned the Board in 1996 to comply with the Open Meeting law requirements. The memorandum then went on to point out that both the Board's Agenda and Board's Minutes are "deficient".

The AG wrote that the Agenda violates two provisions of the Open Meeting Law and that the Board's minutes "do not adequately reflect the substance of all matters discussed or proposed."

The AG also told the Board to send them copies of "all Agendas and Minutes for all Board Meetings that occurred in the 90 days previous to the date of this correspondence so that we may investigate the same.

Some good has already occurred! For those of you who receive or read the Board's Agenda, you will note that the Agenda for the next March Board Meeting is six pages long instead of the usual one page! The new Agenda does contain lots of detail. We were amazed! It's definitely a colossal improvement. Now we can all know five days in advance exactly what bills and what subjects will be before the Board. The AG also wants the Board meetings to be tape recorded

We're also recommending that each Board meeting begin with a Treasurer's report like they use to be and that all of the meetings be video taped so that people working in the day can catch up on what happened in the evening.

Continue on to page 5

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- © 2001 Eureka County Nevada Tax Payers League - All rights reserved.