September 28, 2023


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Washoe County offers legal aid to harassed county employees | Govt-and-politics

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RENO, Nev. (AP) — Washoe County has proven a legal guidance fund for county staff members who’ve been unfairly attacked or harassed in general public as tempers more and more flare through hostile confrontations about election strategies and other controversies.

The legal and private expert services accredited this 7 days will be available to county staff, but not elected officials, The Reno Gazette Journal documented.

“What we’re attempting to do is make positive that the rights of our personnel are protected,” County Supervisor Eric Brown mentioned.

“We’ve witnessed circumstances wherever the general public discourse has gotten progressively hostile,” he mentioned.

The county commission voted 3-1 on Tuesday to authorize the county manager to invest a complete of up to $150,000 for every fiscal yr on these types of endeavours. The $150,000 cap applies to the overall fund, not just about every individual who would be eligible to attract from it.

Any expenditures outside of the $150,000 would demand certain acceptance from the commission.

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Brown said the county has a responsibility as an employer to make guaranteed it’s supporting its personnel.

“We have experienced scenarios wherever county employees – not elected officers – have obtained dying threats, have obtained malicious and fictitious promises produced against them,” he stated. “Some of this has been very hurtful to their families.”

The guidance would be accessible to staff who are “unfairly publicly attacked, harassed, or disparaged by customers of the general public or political businesses,” according to the language authorized by the commissioners.

A track record report by county staff members explained “aggressive opinions, threats, conspiracy theories and fake accusations … can have the effects of deterring certified people today from continuing their professions in authorities support with the county or discouraging men and women who may well be thinking about professions in authorities services.”

Brown reported the initiative would enable personnel — in particular people devoid of the wherewithal to keep their personal counsel or other means — to protect themselves.

“It is in no way any endeavor to suppress criticism of any elected official or community formal,” he explained.

Commissioners Alexis Hill, Kitty Jung and Bob Lucey voted in favor, Jeanne Herman was opposed, and Vaughn Hartung was absent.

Public comment was strongly versus this proposal, contacting it a slush fund and worse.

“You want to give these individuals that make about $100,000 a stipend for lawful expenses when they screw up?” claimed Kenji Otto, who ran and came in 2nd in the Republican key for county clerk. “Give me a split. You people are disgusting.”

Kris Engstrom spoke in favor of the proposal, indicating that more than the lunch split she’d been looking at Jan. 6 listening to testimony in Washington, with people describing mobs entering their homes and ruining their lives.

“It’s clear from some of the hostility in this room that this could materialize to employees who are just undertaking their employment … working for the county,” Engstrom reported during the fee conference.

One particular commenter, Val White, mentioned staff could get more insurance policy for authorized protection if they want it.

“If you imagine you’re likely to be harassed or criticized, it is not our accountability to pay back for your extra authorized expenses,” she mentioned.

White explained it as setting up a huge financial institution account to use for lawful charges to assault citizens “who dare displease us with their comments.”

The language authorized by the fee says eligibility for assistance would be decided on a case-by-scenario basis by the Washoe County Supervisor with input from the Washoe County Office Violence Committee.

“The aim of the method would be to give employees support versus attacks, harassment, or disparagement that come about or originate exterior of the office but that relate in some significant degree to the function of the matter workforce as staff of the county.”

For copyright information, check with the distributor of this product, Reno Gazette-Journal.


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