LETTERS: Family Services errs in review of death

To the editor:

Clark County spokesman Erik Pappa is quoted as saying that consultant Wayne Holder is a “nationally respected expert in the field [of child protective services] with impeccable credentials” (“Neutrality of review in doubt,” Sunday Review-Journal). I take Mr. Pappa at this word.

But that said, did potential bias alter Mr. Holder’s investigation into the death of 16-month-old foster child Michell Momox-Caselis? And if so, what might be his reasons for doing so? And what was the motivation for the Clark County Department of Family Services to contract with Mr. Holder, knowing that he is director of a company that holds a $3 million contract to provide services for the agency? Wouldn’t it have been more prudent for the department to select an independent consultant?

Unfortunately, no one will ever know what was in Mr. Holder’s heart when he conducted his investigation or why Family Services would ever engage a company that has an ongoing contract to provide such an investigation. What is clear, however, is that CCDFS would be financially off the hook if Mr. Holder’s investigation cleared the department, and Mr. Holder’s company — Action for Child Protection — would possibly stand a better chance of having its contract renewed if it found in favor of its client.

Denise Ashby, executive director for the Children’s Advocacy Alliance, implied as much with her comment, “I think there might be a certain level of bias.”

Those who have lived in Nevada a long time could recite a list of contracts and other special arrangements that appear to be part of our old-fashioned political juice machine. To avoid such questions from being raised in the future, it is imperative that government contracts never be awarded to individuals with potential conflicts of interest. Even nationally respected experts.



Smith’s message

To the editor:

I heartily empathize with John L. Smith’s sentiments (“Keeping life’s challenges in perspective makes rough year bearable,” Sunday Review-Journal). In 1997, I had the opportunity to work with Community Counseling Center of Southern Nevada. Through their programs, I have met with HIV/AIDS-affected individuals, people returning to life after incarceration, those struggling to remain in recovery from substance abuse and recently homeless individuals aided immeasurably by HELP of Southern Nevada.

I have learned more from my clients than they have ever been helped by me, and for this I say, “Thank you.” Mr. Smith’s comment, “May you be blessed to fight your good fight wherever it takes you, and may an enduring sense of gratitude never leave your heart,” should be in every fortune cookie.



Seminoles’ sportsmanship

To the editor:

After reading the entire Sports section of the Jan. 2 Review-Journal and finding no one suggesting what I witnessed while watching the Jan. 1 Rose Bowl, I felt the need to speak up. Florida State University provided an example of exactly what sports is not about.

When the Seminoles began to lose the game, they simply quit trying. Then after the game, 70 to 80 percent of the team engaged in an even worse infantile tantrum by walking off the field without even acknowledging the winners. This whole debacle was poor sportsmanship to the max.

Florida State’s behavior was disgusting, and the Seminoles owe the Oregon team and the rest of the country a huge apology.



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