Longtime facilities manager out of job

Controversial Nye County Facilities Manager Bob Jones’ last day on the job was Feb. 11 and his last day of employment with the county is Feb. 25, Human Resources Manager Danelle Shamrell confirmed Thursday.

Jones ends his employment with Nye County after 19 years of service.

While managing the buildings and grounds department, Jones won election to the public administrator position in 2006, but he resigned just before the end of his four-year term on Dec. 13, 2010 after being attacked and robbed at his house by bandits who forced him to open safes containing the belongings of deceased residents.

The trial of robbery suspect Nicholas James Willing, who had worked under Jones in the buildings and grounds department, lodged some ugly allegations against Jones, including doing work in exchange for political perks and allowing people to live in houses secured by the public administrator. Jones allegedly used county equipment to pour concrete slabs without a building permit at his home in 2004 and used county workers — though Jones said he paid the workers from his own pocket.

There were also questions about what happened to some of the guns from a gun collection left by an eccentric accountant who died in Pahrump after Jones, as public administrator, secured the home.

In October 2011, Jones was accused by Nye County Commissioners of violating Nye County Code by moving into the new buildings and grounds offices before a final certificate of occupancy was issued. Top Rank Builders, owned by contractor Rene Morales, was awarded a $151,074 contract to build the new offices.

At the same meeting, commissioners wouldn’t make a motion on Jones’ request for the county to purchase five years of his credits in the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) to be funded from money the county received from the settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy over Yucca Mountain. Human resources supported the buyout if the position could be downgraded to a supervisory position and Jones’ replacement reported to Public Works Director Dave Fanning. The five-year buyout would have cost the county $209,570; HR calculated based on Jones’ annual salary of $148,590, it would cost $101,525 to replace his position.

Former County Commissioner Joni Eastley didn’t see a huge cost savings since Jones wouldn’t retire until March 2012. County Manager Pam Webster said the buyout would deplete the budget earmarked for the last early retirement buyout.

Also in October 2011, county commissioners awarded a $69,900 contract to Alliance Landscaping and Water Features to reline the Calvada ponds, after a leak developed in June 2011. Morales Construction received the original $46,900 contract to line the ponds. Jones said soil tests weren’t done before the pond was filled to determine how much Saponite was needed. Alliance ended up installing a geo-textile liner which was covered up with two and a half inches of concrete.

In November 2012, Jones was in the public eye again as he blasted county commissioners as head of the Nye County Management Employee Association for ignoring his organization after the NCMEA didn’t ratify a contract agreement with the county.

“Today we’re drawing a line in the sand. You are continuing to act like we do not exist. We are here, we’re not going away. You’re breaking state law by not bargaining with our association. You’re continuing to ignore our association. It’s illegal,” Jones said.

District Attorney Brian Kunzi told commissioners a new state law doesn’t afford protection to department heads under employee bargaining agreements. A bill by State Sen. Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City, passed in the 2011 Legislature exempts supervisory employees who have authority to make budget decisions, or can hire or fire employees.

Jones replied his members have a right to freedom of speech and a right to belong to any organization they want. He said the county already lost one department head as a result, Emergency Services Director Brent Jones.