The City of Reno, led by mayor Hillary Schieve (D), held a “Diversity, Inclusion and Equity” (DEI) event entitled Nevada Today, which featured former Republican Governor, current President of University of Nevada Reno Brian Sandoval and Democratic US Senator Catherine Cortez Masto.
This event’s tagline was “Reflecting on our past, creating our future” and in Nevada politics, there is certainly plenty of chatter about the pasts of Sandoval and Cortez Masto. That’s goes double for Reno’s future, given voters’ concerns regarding affordable housing, unabated development, and the surge in inflation, homelessness, and housing prices.
The details of the event’s topics were not readily available, however the details of the city’s actions prior to the event are a cause of taxpayer concern.
A viral tweet from Sen. Cortez Masto’s leading challenger, former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, highlighted the city’s emails to city employees strongly encouraging that they not only attend the event, but will be paid overtime to do so–in accordance with their collective bargaining agreement.
You know it’s bad when the City of Reno has to bully and bribe their own employees to show up to see Senator @CortezMasto speak.
City employees will get overtime to attend this event and your tax dollars are paying for it.
Our team has been able to verify these emails. pic.twitter.com/9G9GLtcWJj
— Adam Paul Laxalt (@AdamLaxalt) April 14, 2022
Monica Jay Stabbert, GOP candidate for Nevada State Senate 16, received an inside tip from a city employee regarding the event. In response, the city employee running the city’s Twitter account got a little snarky:
Can't believe everything you read online, Momo. pic.twitter.com/XVScl5JZcX
— City of Reno (@CityofReno) April 14, 2022
In another wild exchange, Robert Uithoven, VP of Axiom Strategies, is met with the same political disdain by the city’s Twitter troll:
Is this a taxpayer-funded government employee getting into a Twitter fight with somebody on the city’s official account? Using gifs, no less?
Overtime pay for the propaganda, too? https://t.co/L8C2tU2xcJ
— Robert S. Uithoven (@RUithoven) April 15, 2022
The City of Reno has hosted eight previous events whereby city employees could have received overtime pay, which is obviously a laughing matter to those living on the taxpayer teat.
What’s not true is “people are being punished” and “this is a political event”. False. This was an event to talk about DEI with the first Hispanic Republican Gov. of Nevada also speaking 😊 🍤
If you didn’t like this 1, wait until you find out we’ve had 8 other DEI events 😂
— City of Reno (@CityofReno) April 15, 2022
Today, the Vice Mayor of Reno, Neoma Jardon, took this political rhetoric a step further and criticized those who would dare question the taxpayer-funded, overtime pay for city employees to attend this event as “mudslinging and division.”
Unfortunate that @AdamLaxalt would twist an event about diversity & inclusion, into a tweet about mudslinging & division.
Thank you @Pres_Sandoval, @pernaut & @SenCortezMasto for sharing your experiences, insights and inspirations with us. pic.twitter.com/oQA0Hjq1hJ
— Neoma Jardon (@NeomaJardon) April 15, 2022
It has been well-chronicled that the progressive, self-anointed champions of diversity, equity and inclusion aren’t necessarily welcoming to diversity and inclusion of thought or for simply asking questions that provide government transparency. Questions are rarely answered and are often times met with the same, hyper-partisan deflection indicated in the vice-mayor’s tweet or ridicule, as illustrated by the Twitter troll–the social media voice of the City of Reno.
In a statement to The Globe, Monica Jay added:
“These types of situations affect all taxpayers. We are the ones who pay these salaries. If you would like to attend something that’s fine. Ask for time off just like the rest of the working world. Otherwise do the job we are paying for. If you don’t want to attend you had better not be punished or intimidated. Protect whistleblowers because I can guarantee you this happens more often than people think.”
In an effort to provide answers to the many questions and the needed transparency of the use of taxpayer dollars, The Globe has contacted the City of Reno’s media department. We have yet to receive a call back. The Globe has also submitted an open-records request related to the amount of overtime that will be paid to city employees who attended all DEI events and a copy of the transcript from this event.