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COMMUNITY VIEWPOINT: Assessor’s office dissension gives off bad vibe

First and foremost, I would like to apologize to the citizens of Nye County for being put through yet another manufactured scandal involving those in public office. I can assure you that I would much rather be at my job earning my pay, than being removed from the workplace awaiting a hearing on Shirley Matson’s unilateral efforts to terminate my employment. These types of meritless hijinks only serve to further diminish the trust that the people of Nye County should have in those employed to serve the public.

As you may already know, the Nye County Employee Association Agreement establishes a process for dealing with the issue of terminating a covered employee, such as myself. I intend to fully participate in the process and vigorously defend myself in hopes of being able to retain my position with the Nye County Assessor’s Office. I have to trust the established process and remain confident that I will be vindicated through the process.

I have no intention or desire to circumvent that process and to try this matter in the media or on the campaign trail. To that end, this statement is most likely the only comment that I will make regarding Shirley Matson’s effort to terminate my employment until that process has come to a final resolution.

Due to Shirley Matson’s release of confidential information and certain misstatements to the general public, I feel it is necessary for me to address a few key issues. It is no secret that there is a certain amount of tension in the Assessor’s Office since I announced my candidacy to be the Nye County Assessor. Despite my belief that this matter will be more fully addressed through the established process. I cannot sit idly by as Shirley Matson portrays her slanted version of events in hopes of gaining some political capital from the incident.

First, I fully admit that I installed a “nanny camera” at my desk. I installed the camera for what I believe to be two legitimate reasons.

Prior to installing the camera, it became apparent to me that someone was tampering with my desk and personal property when I was out of the office. I would come into the office in the morning to find that things had been moved. On one occasion, someone deliberately turned food items stored in a drawer upside down so that they would dump out into my desk when I attempted to pick them up.

Additionally, I am involved in a heated election race with Shirley Matson and wanted to protect myself in case of any foul play, such as improper tampering or false implications of illegal activity by way of staging. I believe any resident of Nye County who has followed this issue involving the Assessor’s Office over the last several years would not condemn my concerns as unreasonable or baseless.

I used the camera only when I was not in the office. I would turn it on as I left for the day, and turn if off when I came back into work. It was not connected to the Internet or any other lines of communication. Instead it stored information on a micro SD card. I am not certain if the camera was capable of recording audio, but I never used it to record any conversations. I do not believe that it was either illegal or a violation of Nye County policy for me to have the camera at my desk. This belief is supported by the fact that the Nye County Sheriff’s Office has refused to bring charges against me with regard to the camera and the investigation was closed on September 8, 2014 (the same day Shirley Matson attempted to terminate my employment despite the fact that she herself had discovered the camera nearly three weeks prior to that time).

Any claims that I contacted the media regarding this incident are wholly unfounded. The media contacted me for a statement, and I declined to provide any statement beyond my confirmation that I was on administrative leave.

It is truly unfortunate that Shirley Matson has increased her efforts to assassinate my character both personally and professionally since I announced my decision to run for the office of County Assessor. Her most recent statements and publication of information deemed confidential by Nye County in the comments section of the Pahrump Valley Times are inexcusable. That being said, it gives the voters some insight as to how she operates. In fact, Shirley Matson’s ridicule and disparagement of my co-workers and myself is the primary reason why I chose to run against her in the upcoming election.

I hope to be able to return to my job very soon. I hope that the citizens of Nye County will give me the opportunity to serve them as their County Assessor. I pledge that I will do my best to ensure that these types of “scandals” are a thing of the past.

Respectfully,

Sheree Stringer

Candidate for Nye County Assessor

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