By Mark Waite
TONOPAH — Nye County Treasurer Mike Maher was called on the carpet last year for his failure to file timely, monthly treasurer reports to the county commission.
Could the county public administrator be next?
Commissioner Joni Eastley last week questioned for a second time why there were no public administrator reports for some time. She referred to Nevada Revised Statute 253.091, though the NRS is very limited in its requirements for filing reports.
The statute says county commissioners shall establish regulations for the form of any reports made by the public administrator; review reports submitted by the public administrator and investigate any complaint received by the board against the public administrator. A separate subsection allows the county commissioners to investigate any estate the public administrator is handling.
Nye County Manager Pam Webster said the Nevada Association of Counties researched the issue and couldn’t find regulations from any other Nevada counties on the forms, though Lyon County is drafting regulations.
Eastley suggested Webster get online and research Clark County or Washoe County regulations.
Falkon Finlinson, who was elected public administrator in November 2010, said the first time he heard there was a concern was when he was contacted by a reporter Wednesday night. No one from the county mentioned to him any concern about the reports, he said.
“I’m having staffing issues and I will be getting it taken care of as soon as possible,” Finlinson said. “I’m not sure if they’re required by law. Up until this point I’ve been doing quarterly reports.”
Webster said the public administrator’s reports haven’t been submitted since September. She said they’re supposed to be done quarterly.
The last public administrator’s report for the second quarter of 2011, submitted at the Sept. 6, 2011 county commission meeting, simply listed the names of 39 people who died for which his office was handling the estates, their date of death, the executor, the fees and the status. Sixteen cases were open, eight were closed and for 15 others Finlinson said there was no case.
Three cases from 2009 were still listed as being handled by former public administrator Bob Jones. Robin Rudolf was listed as the executor of six closed cases from Oct. 9, 2010 to May 12, 2011, with combined fees of $28,524.61.
The Nye County public administrator’s position was at the heart of a major scandal in 2000, when former public administrator Robert “Red” Dyer and his wife and deputy administrator, Genie Dyer, were accused of over 30 counts of looting estates. Red Dyer was overwhelmingly recalled by Nye County voters in January 2000.
Jones, the last public administrator, who is also the Nye County facilities manager, quit the public administrator job a day after four people robbed his home at gunpoint, tied up him and his wife and emptied his safe of valuables. One of the suspects, Nicholas Willing, worked for the Nye County Buildings and Grounds Department under Jones and did some work on Jones’ house.
Finlinson is the only elected member in Nye County of the Independent American Party and lives in Amargosa Valley. He narrowly defeated Donna Jokinen, a Democrat, 6,755 to 6,469 in the November 2010 general election. Jokinen had defeated Robin Durand-Rudolf, the former owner of Neptune Mortuary, in the June 2010 Democratic primary 1,305 votes to 970.
Last November, Eastley threatened to take legal action against County Treasurer Mike Maher for not filing a county treasurer’s report with the commission since February. Maher eventually showed up at a Jan. 3 county commission meeting, when reports were updated through June 30, though Eastley claimed they were incomplete.
Auditor Dan McArthur in his report delivered March 6, said $4 million in interest wasn’t allocated to various towns and government entities on a timely basis. He found outstanding check numbers were off by $600,000. There was about a $1 million difference in the amounts shown in different investments, McArthur said.