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August 25, 2019

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ANSWERS: CLARK COUNTY:

Frustration is spelled C-o-l-l-i-n-s at meeting

County QA

Courtesy of Erik Pappa

County Commissioner Steve Sisolak is corrected on the spelling of espadon by eighth-grader Dakota Jones, who finished fifth in the national spelling bee.

Unless you enjoy deducing the meaning of a zoning-ordinance amendment or watching lobbyists prostrate themselves before elected officials to obtain development waivers, government meetings aren’t all that interesting. But one moment of levity and one of pure frustration made last week’s Clark County Commission meeting worth watching.

Humor during a commission meeting? Oh, do tell.

Commissioners issued a proclamation — politicians hand them out like candy, but this one truly hit the mark — to a young man who finished fifth in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in June.

Dakota Jones, a 14-year-old eighth-grader from Hyde Park Middle School, is likely the highest finisher from Nevada in the 86-year-old tournament. (A Scripps National Spelling Bee spokeswoman said records are incomplete.)

With his parents on hand, Dakota received the proclamation from Commissioner Steve Sisolak. The proclamation contained the 13 words he spelled correctly before being stumped by “zanja.”

“I can’t begin to pronounce these,” Sisolak said of the words Dakota had spelled correctly in the nationally televised competition. “My liaison assured me they’re all spelled correctly.”

Sisolak asked Dakota to read them.

“Garibaldi, recidivist, whirlicote, espandon …” The boy stopped.

“That’s actually not spelled right,” he said. The correct spelling is “e-s-p-a-d-o-n.”

After everyone had stopped laughing, Sisolak looked to the boy’s parents.

“He’s a gem. He’s a real gem,” he said.

•••

So what was this moment of frustration you mentioned?

Commissioners were close to inking a deal with Aptitude Solutions to install self-service kiosks in the Clark County recorder’s office. A Florida software developer, Aptitude Solutions was planning to use a Colorado subcontractor, Kiosk Systems, to provide the hardware.

That was enough to get the ball rolling, as several commissioners are never happy when out-of-state vendors are chosen. Sisolak asked if Kiosk Systems had a county business license.

A recorder’s office staffer replied that he “imagined” Kiosk Systems had a license because it does contract work for the Clark County School District, the state Department of Motor Vehicles and the Clark County Detention Center.

Was that, in fact, the case?

Nope. Kiosk Systems had no business license. Staff added it would now be sure the subcontractor got a license.

“In a tough time, you’re putting local businesses at a disadvantage when we don’t even require people to get business licenses,” Sisolak replied.

Commissioner Tom Collins, who doesn’t often agree with Sisolak, agreed this time, saying it’s a long-running problem that never seems to get addressed.

Tom Collins

Tom Collins

“I watched this feller up here (from purchasing, which hadn’t checked to see if Kiosk Systems was licensed) say ‘yes, we’ll do it,’ and then this meeting gets adjourned. And three months later, the same points come back up ... I don’t know why we’re still hearing these same issues that we want to get people from Tombouctou to go to work for us who aren’t licensed in our county.”

He wasn’t done.

“Y’all will just stand up there and grin and take a beating and go back to doing what you do everyday and we’ve got to change that outcome. I’ve said that about as nice as I can say it.”

How did commissioners vote?

They voted to postpone any action for 30 days, giving staff time to reassess policies and make sure the subcontractor gets licensed.

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