By Don Dike-Anukam
Candidate for Reno mayor Eddie Lorton filed late last month an ethics complaint with the Nevada Ethics Commission against incumbent Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve. (Read it below.)
The complaint, filed on July 25, 2018, alleges that Schieve inappropriately used the city website, marketing resources, staff, and funds for an ’80s-themed Reno Arch event on June 25, 2018. He said the resources were used to promote her candidacy for re-election instead of the event.
Lorton’s complaint contends that Schieve used the #biggestlittleselfie hashtag to promote her personal involvement instead of the actual celebration. The heart of the complaint alleges that the mayor used city resources, city employees, and her office to promote her attendance at the event, which was unfair to other candidates.
Lorton’s attorney, Stephanie Rice, made the following statement:
“One of Mr. Lorton’s top concerns is that citizen tax dollars are being spent appropriately. Part of being fiscally responsible includes having a checks and balances system. When a government employee or public official gives the appearance of using government resources for personal benefit, it is important to ensure there are checks and balances to review such spending. The Nevada Ethics Commission provides the checks and balances to ensure public employees and officials are carrying out their official duties in an appropriate and ethical manner and if they are not, the ethics commission steps in to stop the misconduct and provides tools and resources to assist in preventing similar misappropriation in the future.
“If the Ethics Commission finds there to be misconduct,” she added, “(they) would likely condemn this type of misspending and provide tools and/or resources to the City to ensure similar misappropriation does not occur in the future, which is a win for the entire community.”
Schieve said the celebration was an appropriate city function. She stated that at no point during the event did she mention anything about her candidacy for mayor.
“I was not focused on my campaign for mayor, but on the event,” she explained. “I still have to do my job to champion my city. I am focused on my goal of making the city a better place to live. I think there’s a distinct difference when you are promoting your candidacy versus the role that you serve at that current time.”
The event was organized by the city to celebrate the arch’s makeover.
At this point, no date has been set for when this complaint will be heard. Upon review of the complaint, an inquiry was made to the Nevada Commission on Ethics executive director Yvonne Nevarez-Goodson. She said that she could not deny nor confirm if a complaint has been filed at this time.
Lorton sued during the last mayoral election, in 2014, when he was a candidate. He sued then-candidate Jessica Sferrazza over term limits. He prevailed in state supreme court, which then had Schieve in the running for mayor at that time. Lorton ended up losing to Schieve.