Nevada Regent Allison Stephens is accusing Board of Regents Chair Rick Trachok of open meeting law violations during the Nevada System of Higher Education’s (NSHE) failed search for a new chancellor.
Reporting by the Las Vegas Review-Journal reveals a letter Stephens wrote to Board of Regents Chief of Staff, Dean Gould. She said that a statement Trachok made to the Las Vegas Review-Journal contradicted the board’s action.
Trachok reportedly said: “I was very pleased that when I approached (acting chancellor John White about being appointed chancellor) … after the committee meeting, he agreed to take the job.”
Stephens said that Trachok’s statement was a contradiction of formal action take by the board. She added:
“Chair Trachok was engaged in the search process intimately, including interviews. During his engagement in the search process, Chair Trachok both publicly and privately advocated for Chancellor White, naming him as acting not interim, which precluded him from participating in the search process. The combination of Chair Trachok’s unorthodox involvement in the search process and his open campaign for an acting chancellor to be awarded the permanent position calls into question the validity of the failed chancellor search process.”
Stephens threatened to have the Attorney General intervene if the board did not remedy the situation.
Gould denied any inappropriate behavior.
“There were no violations of the open meeting law,” he wrote back to Stephens. “Vice Chancellor Vaskov and I are in full agreement that no violations of the open meeting law or the NSHE policies relating to the search, or otherwise, have occurred in the chancellor search process, and we find no basis in fact or law to support the claims contained in the letter.”
White withdrew last week as the remaining consideration for the chancellor position. The other five candidates had withdrawn from the search process allegedly because of concerns about Nevada’s open meeting laws.
“Despite the failure of the search, it appears that board members are in disagreement about how to proceed; I do not wish to be caught in the middle of such a dispute,” White wrote in a letter to the regents.
The failed search cost $100,000.
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. In addition to managing This Is Reno, he holds a part-time appointment for the Mineral County University of Nevada Extension office.