The Washoe Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday approved three measures for the upcoming election. County staff sought approval to hire staffing agencies to fill temporary positions to meet increased needs during elections, as well as printing and mailing of ballots.
Commissioners approved $322,000 for staffing for the 2022 primary and general elections, as well $800,000 for printing and mailing ballots. A third contract was approved for $150,000 to print and mail sample ballots in the 2022 election. The contracts went to out-of-state companies.
Commissioners questioned the Registrar of Voters Deanne Spikula about why the three contracts did not go to local firms. Temporary staff hired through the staffing companies have to be Nevada residents to work at polling locations.
“They have to be a registered voter in order to work in our office,” Spikula said. “We could not hire somebody who was from out of state unless they moved here and became a resident here.”
“We use temporary agencies to do that because these are temporary jobs, not Washoe County jobs,” County Manager Eric Brown said. “This is the more fiscally responsible way to conduct these operations … and the vast majority of our election workers are Washoe County residents.”
Spikula said the county already uses local staffing agencies but can’t exceed current contracts.
“We do have some that we do work with,” she said. “We just have to be careful not to exceed a certain amount because then we’ll be in violation of purchasing [rules].”
Spikula also said few businesses responded to the call for proposals issued by the county for the election services. One that was approved today is a company the county has used since at least 2006.
A number of public commenters espousing conspiracies accused the commissioners of lying, voter fraud and treason for approving the measures.
Other commissioner actions
Security contract approved for $1.8 million
Commissioners also approved a contract change for Allied Universal Security. The company provides security services at county facilities and the Nevada Cares Campus. The contract is for $1.8 million, which staff said was cheaper than paying sheriff’s department officers.
Medical examiner staff pay increases
Commissioners approved pay increases for top medical examiner staff. They said it was to compete with the national market. “In an effort to recruit and retain the Deputy Chief Medical Examiner and Assistant Medical Examiner, the Washoe County Regional Medical Examiner’s Office requested an increase to the salary range for these job classifications,” county staff wrote.
Funds approved for nonprofits and specific projects
Commissioners approved the following projects:
- $1,000 to the Nevada Interfaith Association to support the 2022-23 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Interfaith Memorial Celebration (District 1)
- $5,000 to Our Story Inc. to support and market the Northern Nevada African American Firefighter Museum (District 1)
- $15,100 to the Tahoe Transportation District to support staffing costs for a deputy district manager and advance transportation development (District 1)
- $34,752 to the Washoe County Roads Fund to purchase two cattle/horse guards to be installed at the end of Toll Road/Ravazza Road to protect the Virginia Range Horses and keep them off of Washoe County roadways (District 2)
- $5,700 each to the following nonprofits: Awaken, Mustangs Wrestling Club, Boy Scouts of America Nevada Area Council, Forever 14, Adopt A Vet Dental Program, Friends of Washoe County Library (all in District 2)
- $5,748 to the Nevada Department of Veterans Services’ Capitol Hill Clinic to support housing assistance for U.S. military veterans (District 2)
- $10,000 each to Eddy House, The Greater Reno Community Ice Skating Association (District 2)
- $500 to the Human Services Agency of Washoe County for purchase of photography equipment for the Family Resource Center (District 2)
- $14,780 to Awaken, a nonprofit working to eradicate commercial sexual exploitation (District 5)
- $10,000 to The Salvation Army to support its human trafficking survivor program (District 5)
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.