Letter to the Editor: Dismayed Over Economic Development Authority

Dear Editor,

I am moving back to Mineral County after two years in Washington State, where I worked with the City of Oroville (population 1,750) and the US Department of Commerce to create or retain 156 jobs at a lumber mill just south of the Canadian border.

I caught up on developments in Mineral County by reading the latest county commission agenda postings, and I was dismayed to see that the executive director of the Mineral County Economic Development Authority is once again dividing the community.

When I left Nevada in the Spring of 2015, MCEDA was pushing the Green Energy Nevada Project as something that would save the town of Hawthorne. At the time, the executive director of MCEDA made it sound like anyone who wanted a job would find a $65,000 a year (conveniently what she’s paid) job working on a chicken farm.

I know people who left their jobs to pursue the mirage peddled by the MCEDA executive director. All they were left with in the end was rotten eggs.

Green Energy Nevada proponents, one of whom had an unpaid judgment in Clark County Court when the chicken farm was being promoted (Yellow Book Sales and Distributing vs. Izrafeel Razack, Clark County Case No. 07C012060), could not find a bank that would guarantee their performance.

Green Energy Nevada then sued Mineral County for $74 million in damages. It is my understanding that the MCEDA executive director remains in contact with Green Energy Nevada project proponents to this day. If the lawsuit succeeds, each Mineral County taxpayer would be liable for $15,507 of damages.

It should be pointed out that this isn’t the first time that the executive director of MCEDA touted a project as the savior of Hawthorne only to see it fail. Before Green Energy Nevada, there was Smile Foods. Like Green Energy Nevada, Smile Foods never created a job in Mineral County, despite all of the breathless press releases and Facebook posts from the MCEDA executive director.

The county commission, wanting to protect us taxpayers, sent a letter to Steve Hill (Governor Brian Sandoval’s Director of Economic Development) asking him to examine how economic development in Mineral County could be improved. Because our commissioners had the courage to defend us as taxpayers, they have been personally and ruthlessly attacked by the MCEDA executive director and her allies. Our commissioners should be thanked, not recalled.

Sincerely,

Michael Guss

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Comments

  1. Robert Weaver says:

    Sounds like you are looking for a job. When I was the Executive Director of EDA/Chamber of Commerce the pay was less than the poverty level of Mineral County. I think the numbers you are quoting are trumped up numbers. The county commission are a bunch of high school students playing at being grownups.

  2. Michael Guss says:

    Nope, not trumped up numbers. Unlike the MCEDA Executive Director, I don’t make things up.

    http://www.gazette-tribune.com/news/edd-seeks-grant-to-relocate-road-in-industrial-area/72139/

    https://www.eda.gov/archives/2016/news/press-releases/2016/09/14/oroville-wa.htm

    The last available 990 filed for MCEDA shows a salary of $65,800 paid to the Executive Director. You can read it here:

    https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/880343675

    For the record, I think the position is basically part time and should be paid $15,000 to $20,000 max. I think the County Commission is right to raise concerns. The impact of the lawsuit is potentially catastrophic to the county.

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