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Records shed light on Nye employment dispute

Updated July 18, 2019 - 4:39 pm

A complaint filed against Nye County with the state-run Nevada Local Government Employee-Management Relations Board is set to move on to a hearing in early December—barring a resolution in an August settlement conference.

The Nye County Management Employees Association and former Nye County District Attorney’s Office employee Ronni Boskovich filed the complaint in April with the relations board after Boskovich was terminated from her position within the district attorney’s office.

The case is scheduled for a hearing on Dec. 3 if there is no agreement made during a settlement conference in August, according to information sent in an email by Marisu Romualdez Abellar, executive assistant/relations board secretary. The board is a state-run agency tasked with resolving disputes between local governments, employee organizations and local government employees.

Pre-hearing: County

According to a pre-hearing statement from Nye County to the relations board on June 11, Boskovich was sent a letter outlining the primary reasons of why she was terminated in May 2019 after she had requested Nye County state the reasons for her termination. She was a deputy district attorney at the time of her termination, documents show.

5. Respondent's Pre-Hearing Statement by Pahrump Valley Times on Scribd

According to the filing, the Nye County District Attorney, Chris Arabia, outlined several “issues of concern/misconduct” that Nye County determined had occurred.

“These issues involved Boskovich’s failure to recognize the legal significance of non-compliance with marijuana regulations and procedures in the Nye County Code, misleading the Nye County Board of County Commissioners and proposing to obscure violations of an ordinance by eliminating a section of the ordinance in question and concealing the same from the district attorney and four members of the BOCC (Board of County Commissioners),” the pre-hearing filing by the county stated.

This letter additionally “noted Boskovich disclosed the existence and substance of sensitive, legally significant and confidential information related to marijuana regulations, procedures, brothels and conflicts of interest, which included the disclosure to three people potentially involved in the matter, as well as disclosure to at least two other people,” according to the pre-hearing filing by the county.

The document went on to make other claims against Boskovich, statements that the Pahrump Valley Times is continuing to look into. The document also claimed, in part, that “Boskovich demonstrated a lack of fitness and suitability for the position by displaying poor judgment, improper circumvention of the district attorney and her supervisor, improper disclosure of confidential information and failure to take action to disclose and/or avoid conflicts of interest.”

A message was left for Boskovich late Tuesday afternoon. Boskovich replied in a statement to the Pahrump Valley Times late Thursday morning.

“I find the timing of the allegations contained in the county’s pre-hearing statement interesting, in that Mr. Arabia couldn’t seem to find a reason for my termination when I pleaded for an explanation on April 22, 2019 when he terminated my employment,” Boskovich said in an email. “These allegations are egregious, false and defamatory.”

In her statement, Boskovich said “I never once received a single verbal or written warning or write-up. I received nothing but positive feedback from all of my superiors and co-workers in both the civil and criminal divisions, including Mr. Arabia himself.”

“The allegations of attempting to cover up code violations are entirely untrue, as I was the one who discovered that the code had not been followed …,” she said in the statement.

Boskovich said she brought this information to county officials.

“The only individuals I discussed these code issues with were the individuals directly involved,” she said. “I did not discuss any sensitive legal information with uninvolved parties.”

Boskovich’s statement included other comments that the Pahrump Valley Times is pursuing.

4. NCMEA Pre-Hearing Statement by Pahrump Valley Times on Scribd

The initial complaint to the relations board was filed on April 25, according to documents from the relations board. The complaint was filed by Adam Levine of the law office of Daniel Marks. Levine is counsel for Boskovich and the Nye County Employees Association in the action.

In a June 19, 2019 article in the Pahrump Valley Times, it stated that “the complaint asserted that the deputy district attorneys in the criminal division had voted unanimously to unionize. Therefore, the complaint stated, even though a bargaining agreement had not been approved, the county was required to negotiate with a bargaining representative prior to taking action to remove her from her position.”

1. Complaint by Pahrump Valley Times on Scribd

According to the Times’ report, the county declared “that it did have the authority to terminate her, as she was originally employed on an “at-will” basis, which would allow the Nye County District Attorney’s Office to remove her from her position at any time, with or without reason.”

“The complaint also alleged that the termination was retaliatory in nature,” according to the Times’ report.

According to the complaint, Boskovich was terminated from her position some two weeks after testifying in favor of “unionization and the Nye County Management Employees Association” in another filing that organization made with the relations board, which violated state law, according to the complaint.

In that complaint, relief by the complainant included asking for Nye County’s admission that it engaged in one or more prohibited labor practices in violation of Nevada law was being sought and an order reinstating Boskovich with retroactive back pay and benefits and an order requiring Nye County negotiate with the Nye County Management Employees Association.

The complainants also asked for the posting of the findings of the board of “such prohibited practices” in public places, along with posting a statement of agreement that the county will not engage in those practices in the future, according to the complaint.

Nye County response

At the end of May, Nye County filed an answer to the complaint filed by Nye County attorney Nick Crosby of Las Vegas law firm Marquis Aurbach Coffing.

3. Respondent's Answer to Claimanants' Complaint by Pahrump Valley Times on Scribd

In the answer filed by the county, it was stated that the termination of Boskovich was not connected to her previous testimony to the relations board or “because of any activities Boskovich did or may have done in furtherance of her rights under Nevada Revised Statute 288.010 et seq., to include her desire to be a member in an employer organization,” according to information in the “Affirmative Defenses” section of Nye County’s response to the relations board.

In that section of the answer, Nye County stated it had “a legitimate, non-discriminatory and non-retaliatory basis to take an adverse employment action against” Boskovich. Nye County also stated it did not engage in any prohibited practice.

The county’s response also stated in the complaint that it “did not interfere, restrain or coerce” Boskovich “in the exercise of any right guaranteed under” state laws and that the county did not violate Nevada Revised Statute 288.270(1)(e).

The county is seeking “that the complainant take nothing by way of their complaint on file herein and that the same be dismissed with prejudice,” the county’s answer to the relations board stated.

The county is also seeking “reasonable attorney fees and costs” defending the action “and for such other and further relief as the board deems to be just and proper,” the answer stated.

This is a developing story. Check for updates in the Pahrump Valley Times and pvtimes.com as more information becomes available.

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