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Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve held a press conference on Thursday, 1 February. It’s purpose was to inform the public about an accusation filed with the City of Reno in October (or November) regarding a sexual assault claim. Mayor Schieve’s three-minute-or-less press conference was an apparent attempt to reprise the role of Sergeant Schultz from the 1960’s television show, Hogan’s Heroes.

If You Can’t Dazzle Them With Brilliance…

Mayor Schieve and the staff of the City of Reno were apparently responding the previous day’s article in the Reno Gazette-Journal. It disclosed a sexual assault claim by a City of Reno contract employee against former Revitalization Manager Bill Dunne. He allegedly exposed himself in a car to the employee and attempted to force her to perform a sex act.

During her micro-press conference Mayor Schieve said:

Last night I was made aware of sexual assault allegations and I want to make sure that our residents know that we take this extremely seriously at the city of Reno…

Mayor Hillary Schieve

In the press conference, Reno city officials made a point to note that no police report was filed. It is unclear why almost no information was disclosed during the media event, other than to announce that the victim did not file a police report.

Reno officials did not explain why the Human Resources Director, nor the City Attorney failed to report the complaint to police. They were aware of the complaint in November. Nor did they explain why the man accused of a sex crime was allowed to resign without further action. Nor did they explain why the Mayor and the City Council members were not made aware of the situation immediately.

Bill Dunne resigned two weeks (10 November 2017) after the complaint of sexual harassment and assault was reported to Reno’s Human Resources Director. Dunne stated that his reason for resignation:

I feel I have done everything I was hired to do, so I am tendering my resignation to pursue other opportunities…

Bill Dunne

Dunne said nothing about being accused of sexual assault.

Victim Feared Reprisal

The victim of Dunne’s alleged behavior waited until she was about to resign before making her complaint against him because she feared of reprisals. When she gave her notice and informed to the Human Resources Director of the complaint, she indicated a desire to stay on until a replacement could be found. According to the statement, the Human Resources Director told the victim:

Today can be your last day if you’re uncomfortable. We can just turn off your email and mail you your check

Reno Attorney’s Staff: Don’t Believe the Women!

The press conference came almost three weeks after another Reno Gazette-Journal article about sexual harassment complaints against the Reno City Manager Andrew Clinger. This article discloses a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by two female city employees.

In that suit, they claim that Clinger sexually harassed them. Among the accusations, he is accused of touching one of the woman on her leg with sexual intent. He is also accused of sending inappropriate text messages; however, Clinger used an application to delete the messages.

After three women filed sexual harassment complaints with the Human Resources department, Reno City Attorney Karl Hall investigated the claims. Two of the three women filed the lawsuit after they felt Hall blew the investigation.

In his motion to dismiss the women’s lawsuit, Reno’s Deputy Attorney William Cooper accused the women and two others of conspiring against City Manager Clinger. The City’s conspiracy theory suggests an effort to force him out of his position.

Cooper cited an ‘independent’ review, paid for by the city, that confirmed the primary allegations as meritorious. It also determined the secondary allegations could not be verified. Cooper’s motion ignored the findings of the primary allegations. His motion to dismiss seemed to based on the findings of the secondary allegations.

Good Ole Boys Club

Perhaps not ironically, Clinger was the person who hired Dunne in 2016 after Dunne faced political pressure to leave his job as Commissioner for Planning and Development in Troy, New York.

As for the City Manager, Clinger quit his position in October 2016 and was hired a few months later by Governor Brian Sandoval as a Senior Advisor on issues relating to economic development, workforce development, and education. Clinger was given a $288,000 severance deal from the City of Reno. He is now being paid over $117,000 in his role for Governor Sandoval. 

Both of the women involved left their positions late in 2016. They stated that the work environment at the City of Reno had become too hostile to continue employment.

Four women felt they had to end their employment with the City of Reno because of a sexually toxic environment, but Mayor Hillary Schieve wants the citizens to know that she takes sexual assault seriously…after she reads about it in the news.