By Mark Waite
Nye County commissioners Tuesday unanimously rejected a Pahrump Town Board recommendation that their chairman, Harley Kulkin, serve as the town board liaison to the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission.
“Considering Mr. Kulkin’s past history on the RPC, I don’t believe it’s in the people’s interest to appoint him,” Commissioner Dan Schinhofen said in making the motion.
Pahrump Town Manager Bill Kohbarger and town board members Tom Waters, Bill Dolan and Bob Adams were in the audience — only Adams got up to speak in Kulkin’s defense.
Adams said Kulkin was dedicated to the town.
“I think he’s going to bring a different outlook to it and also, just as far as precedent goes, the seat is to represent the Pahrump Town Board and the Pahrump Town Board did approve the board assignments on the consent agenda unanimously. That should really be the overbearing consideration,” Adams said.
It would mark the first rejection of the Pahrump Town Board liaison by county commissioners. Kulkin had claimed county commissioners never before ratified the town board’s liaison to the RPC, but the district attorney’s office pointed to a clause in the Nye County Code that requires the approval of county commissioners.
Kulkin didn’t attend the meeting. He threatened to leave the town board liaison seat vacant if he wasn’t appointed. Dolan said outside the commissioner’s meeting that that would be a disservice to the town.
Dolan said he had to discuss with town staff how to proceed.
“As the vice-chairman, they refused the chairman. We have to sit down and decide what if anything the town board is going to do,” Dolan said.
“I’m not upset about it. The county commission decided,” Kohbarger said after the vote. “That’s the elected official’s job.”
Schinhofen, in his motion, was referring to Kulkin’s previous term, when he was appointed in June 2003 but resigned in May 2004.
When contacted by telephone later Tuesday, Kulkin was upset no commissioners called him before the vote. He said it’s time people in Pahrump were educated and said the media should do a better job educating them.
“It’s politics. It’s about keeping an experienced, hands-on guy out of the works,” Kulkin said.
County commissioners held a hearing in May 2004 to address Kulkin’s character, misconduct, physical or mental health. Former Commissioner Henry “Butch” Neth said at the hearing that Kulkin was found to have circumvented parceling laws.
Kulkin was charged with misrepresenting statements by a Douglas County planner and a deputy attorney general, supporting his plans to seek a boundary line adjustment for his own 20-acre parcel in Johnnie while on the RPC.
Two Valley Electric Association supervisors also claimed Kulkin bullied them on a request for a utility easement. He was also accused of circumventing laws regarding the donation of water rights to Nye County.
Former RPC member, the late Sheldon Bass, testified at the time that the deputy attorney general stated an individual would be allowed to represent himself before his board, but advised Kulkin to consult with the local district attorney’s office.
Kulkin said the hearing was “character assassination” and accused people threatened by him of trying to derail his campaign for county commissioner that year.
After the Tuesday meeting, Schinhofen said he wasn’t trying to project an image that he hated Kulkin or the Pahrump Town Board, he only felt Kulkin wasn’t the right person for the job.
Kulkin had to sit in the audience for the last RPC meeting on Jan. 16 when he wasn’t seated. He spoke in favor of just about every agenda item, except a request to rezone a junkyard in Johnnie to commercial.