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Snell

'Silmer

DENVER
LAS VECAS
LOS ANGELES

LAW OFFICES

LOS CABOS

50 r(/est Liberry Street


Suite 510
Reno, Nevada 89501

ORANCECOLJNTY
PHOENIX
RENO

775.785.5440
775,785.5441 (Fax)
www.swlaw.com

SALTLAKECIfi
TUCSON

William E. Peterson
Q7s) 78s-s407
wpeterson@swlaw.com

Iuly 29,2016

VIA EMAIL BKandt@ag.nv. gov

Brett Kandt
Chief Deputy Attorney General
Office of the Nevada Attorney General
100 N. Carson Street
Carson City, Nevada 89701

Re:

Open Meeting Law Complaint

Dear Mr. Kandt:

I am an attorney for three female employees of the City of Reno who have filed
complaints with the City of Reno against the City Manager for sexual harassment. The details of
those complaints were provided to the Director of Human Resources for the City of Reno. I am
informed that the City has undertaken an investigation into the allegations and that this
investigation is continuing. A major concern that I have expressed to the City is that allegations
of misconduct regarding a City Manager should be reported to, handled and overseen by the City
Council, the only entity with the authority under the City Charter to address his behavior.
Instead, those allegations are being handled at a level which the City Manager himself directs
and controls. The absence of City Council oversight has the apparent pu{pose of preventing the
allegations of misconduct from public exposure and protecting the City Manager and the City
from "public oversight" which the Open Meeting Law is expressly.designed to insure.
The Open Meeting law was violated on July 20,2016 when the City, in open session,
recessed the meeting and convened in closed session to discuss the complaints. The closed
session was neither agendaized, nor were any of the procedural requirements of state law for
convening in closed session satisfied. NRS 241.030(1), 241.020(2)(dX1); NRS 241.020(c)(4),
24I.030(3). More importantly, during its last session, the legislature amended NRS 24L031 to
preclude a public body from meeting in any closed session to consider the character, alleged
misconduct, or professional competence of a city manager. NRS 241.031(1Xb). I am informed
that the closed session lasted approximately one hour and included the entire City Council except
the Mayor who was not in attendance, and the City Manager who was excluded from the
meeting. The Council reconvened in open session at the conclusion of the closed session.

Snell & Wilmer is a member of LEX MUNDI, The Leading Association of lndependent Lw Firms.

Snell

& \ilmer
L.L.P

Brett Kandt
Iuly 29,2016
Page2

I have advised the City Attorney that under NRS 241.033, allegations of misconduct
involving a City Manager should go directly to the City Council, which should then determine
whether an investigation should be performed, and take whatever interim action is deemed
appropriate. After the investigation is complete the results and recommendations would be
presented to the City Council for a determination as to what action, if any, should be undertaken.
Instead, the allegations of misconduct are being kept below the level of the City council as part
of a process that appears to be designed to avoid public scrutiny in contravention of the Open
Meeting Law. That plan is also manifested in the failure or refusal of the City to take the
customary interim measure of removing the accused from the environment of the victims
pending the conclusion of the investigation. That customary step was not taken here because it
would have required the City Council to take action in an open meeting. See City Charter Section
3.030(2)(suspension requires resolution of the City Council). Other steps included hiring
attorneys as "investigators," because the City Charter requires a resolution in open session to hire
attorneys and threats of termination for failure to "maintain" confidentiality.
The City's efforts, as described above, to employ a process to protect the City Manager
from the sunlight the Open Meeting Law is intended to shed on conduct at that high level of
government contravenes the spirit of the Open Meeting Law, but has now led to a direct
violation of that law as described above and which we request your office to investigate. Please
let me know if there is any further information that I can provide.

Very truly yours,


Snell

&

L.L

Peterson

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