A futile search for accountable supervisors at the county


Are Clark County’s top supervisors responsible for building inspections simply weenies or can’t they be trusted to speak to the press? 

Otherwise, why would the Review-Journal’s Sunday story about construction deficiencies at CityCenter include this appalling paragraph:
 
“County officials Phil Rosenquist (right), Ron Lynn and Greg Franklin were not available to talk during the 10 days in April that the newspaper made repeated requests to interview one of the three. Rosenquist is the assistant county manager over county development services, which Lynn heads. Lynn supervises Franklin, who heads the building division.”

Instead, public information office Dan Kulin answered most of the questions posed by Las Vegas Review-Journal reporters Joan Whitely and Alan Maimon.

Kulin’s a good guy, a former Las Vegas Sun reporter who has efficiently helped me find information I've needed.

But on a story of this magnitude, putting the public information officer on the front line so the top tier decision-makers can play duck and cover is unadulterated chickenpoop.
 
I asked Whitely how the trio of top level county bosses could be unavailable for two weeks.

The explanation given to her by Kulin: “We think we can get you the most accurate and complete information by doing it this way.”

Whitely said she went up the chain of command to ask Director of Public Communications Director Erik Pappa if she could interview any one of the trio.

Pappa’s answer: No.

Not unreasonably, Whitely wanted to speak directly with a technical person knowledgeable about building permits and the construction process, since the story was about the vast numbers of times that building inspectors cited deficiencies and those deficiencies weren’t fixed.

The county’s own discrepancy logs showed Perini Building Company still had 69 percent of the discrepancies unresolved at the Harmon Hotel as of Feb. 13, and of the five buildings in the complex Vdara Condo Hotel was the best of the lot with only 22 percent unresolved discrepancies.

The Mute Trio simply weren’t going to be made available to discuss CityCenter.

The Mute Trio can stonewall the news media and hide behind county spokesmen.
 
But I’d like to believe that someone, somewhere within the county or on the County Commission is asking some tough questions of Phil Rosenquist, Ron Lynn and Greg Franklin.

Call me a cockeyed optimist.