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OPINION: Commissioner Hill’s unilateral action is undemocratic


Submitted by Thomas Daly

Commissioner Alexis Hill has decided, unilaterally, to deny citizens the ability to speak on issues before the Washoe County Commission at the beginning of each of their public meetings, a long tradition in Washoe County. Apparently, those public comments by “the little people” are not worthy of her time, thus her diktat for last Tuesday’s Commission meeting and, thereafter.

Her action was taken without public notice, public comment, discussion in public session among other commissioners or a vote by those commissioners.

While Commissioner Hill is a Democrat, her action was hardly democratic.

Perhaps Commissioner Hill forgot that she was elected by her constituents to be a public servant…with the emphasis on ‘servant’. She works for us and she and her entitled entourage are paid to sit through some long meetings to gain input from county taxpayers and voters on the issues of the day.

Citizens attending those meetings are not paid and have limited time to speak, thus their desire to provide public comment, on issues both on and off the agenda, at a time certain at the beginning of such meetings, rather than a time uncertain at the end. For that reason, historically, the vast majority of public comments occur at the beginning of such meetings. 

Public comments on individual agenda items are restricted only to those germane to such items.

And recall the admonition of Nevada’s Open Meeting Law (OML) that any measure that diminishes public input, even if it is in technical compliance with that law, is a violation of the law’s spirit.

Other Commissioners have tried to stifle public input as well, to wit, former Commissioner Bob Lucey’s evisceration of the Citizen Advisory Boards (CABs) in 2015 and further in 2021 – an issue in his reelection bid of 2022, an election he lost, as you may recall.


Our founding fathers warned us of the likelihood of elected officials decrying the views of their constituents. Alexander Hamilton, writing in the Federalist Papers No. 71, opined:

‘The representatives of the people, in public assembly, seem sometimes to fancy that they are the people themselves and betray strong symptoms of impatience and disgust at the least sign of opposition from any other quarter…

Thomas Daly, BA, MA, MSc. is a seventeen year resident of Washoe County.

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