Man files open meeting complaint against supervisors

A Reno man filed a complaint asserting the Carson City Board of Supervisors is in violation of the state's Open Meeting Law.

He says the Carson supervisors should allow open comment each time they change to other functions, such as the Redevelopment Authority, and first witnessed this during their June 1 meeting.

Sam Dehné is running for the Washoe County Commission district 2 and is known for frequenting government meetings around that area and challenging how the meetings are run. The retired airline pilot sometimes sings his comments - much to the chagrin of officials.

The supervisors "were in breach of the Open Meeting Law by not agendizing a specific agenda item for open public comment ... not even allowing for open public comment..." Dehné stated in his complaint to the Nevada Attorney General's office filed Thursday afternoon.

Dehné came to the supervisors meeting on Thursday and told them he was going to file a complaint about what happened June 1 - unless they voted to add open comment periods to the sections of the agenda where the supervisors serve as the Redevelopment Authority and Liquor and Entertainment Board.

Mayor Marv Teixeira said it couldn't be done because it wasn't on the agenda. He said the request constituted "blackmail" and was "a trap" to get the supervisors to violate the law.

Dehné then presented his opinion about several issues. At one point, Teixeira commented about not wanting the meeting to turn into "The Jerry Springer Show."

Dehné replied: "It'll be more like 'American Idol.'"

After several comments, the mayor stopped allowing him to speak. Two deputies sat discreetly in the back of the meeting room in case Dehné was going to be asked to leave. He left on his own.

The District Attorney's office says the complaint filed with the attorney general's office has no merit.

"The Attorney General said simply you have to provide public comment on the agenda," said Melanie Bruketta, the city's supervising civil district attorney. It doesn't matter what title the group uses as long as it's during the same meeting.

At the beginning of each supervisors meeting there is a period for people to talk about items not on the agenda and, "we go above and beyond the law by providing public comment on every item discussed," Bruketta also said.

Dehné said because the mayor stopped letting him speak, there will be another complaint filed about the supervisors with the state.

"Freedom of speech was made for watchdogs, not fanny kissers," Dehné said Friday. "The First Amendment was created for people who want to speak out."

And, perhaps, sing out. He said he plans to bring his guitar to the next meeting.

The attorney general's office will be looking into Dehné's complaint, according to the office's Public Information Officer Nicole Moon.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber or 882-2111, ext. 215.


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