Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter
Four of the six candidates on the ballot for the Fernley Swimming Pool Board of Directors spoke at the Meet the Candidates Night at Calvary Chapel on Oct. 18. Incumbent candidates William Clegg and Jann Van Horn did not attend. Each candidate make an opening statement, then answered questions from the moderator. Candidates were not allowed in the room while other candidates for the same office were at the podium. The following is a transcript from the four candidates who appeared, arranged in order of the questions.
William Riesen: I’ve been living in Fernley for over 16 years now. I’m a tax consultant in the city of Fernley, I have my own tax business and I have been on the HOA, Desert Lakes Homeowners Association Board, both as the board president and as the treasurer. I’ve served on the Fernley Swimming Pool Board for over six years, not consecutively. I was a treasurer on every one of them, and that’s because of my background in taxes. What I’m looking forward to this coming fiscal year is getting new programs. There are untapped resources in the city of Fernley and as a board member we need to determine what they are and try to bring that untapped resource into the pool. So that’s where I stand right now.
Nancy Clarke: The reason I’m running for the board is, I use the pool. I’m there at least three days a week, sometimes five days a week. I have friends that use the pool. I have a personal interest in seeing that it’s ran well. So I guess that’s my reason.
Cheryl A. Howell: I’ve been in this community approximately 18 years and I do use the pool faithfully. I’m running for the board because I think people should be using the pool that are voting on the important issues of the pool, and that’s why I’m running.
Ronnie Adreon: I have lived here in Nevada for approximately 20 years. My kids have all gone to school here. I have been on plenty of PTA boards, Scouts, Girl and Boy Scouts, 4-H. For a while we had a Great Basin Humane Society and I was a board member of that.
You just described who you are. Now expand. Why you?
William Riesen: Well, once again I have a tax background and second of all, I’ve served on two different boards. Of course one is an NRS 116 which is a homeowners’, we’re a 318 district, and a 318 district is a totally different animal compared to a 116. We’ve had our problems with NRS 241, the Open Meeting Law, which almost every community board has had an issue with 241. It’s basically what you think is correct, the other party may not think is correct, so that’s why with the education we receive from the Fernley Pool Board, we end up hopefully not making mistakes. I have to admit when we did our budget, we made some mistakes, and those will hopefully be corrected this coming fiscal year. One of the things I’m most proud of and why I think I deserve to be reelected is we have a brand new director. This director came from back east, in Minnesota, and she has taken and has got our budget under total control. This time last year it was a budget downfall in overtime of over $4,000. Overtime same time this fiscal year, we’re at $342. So your money now is being well spent.
Nancy Clarke: I think because I really want to see the community in the community pool. There are lots and lots of people in this community who don’t even have a clue that we have a pool. I have friends who didn’t know there was a pool until I said I go to the pool, why don’t you come too, and so we’ve all become kind of a peer pressure to make sure we get there. I’d like to see that happen more. Seniors need to be exercising so they can stay healthier. Our kids need to be exercising so they can stay healthier.
Cheryl Howell: I have owned my own business. I’ve done a lot of marketing in my life. I think that would be a very important issue with the pool board. It’s more marketing to get the word out in the community. I don’t see that as much as I’d like to, and I just think that’s an important thing.
Ronnie Adreon: I use the pool and I feel that somebody who’s on the pool board should utilize the pool so they can see what it has to offer. It’s easy to make decisions if it doesn’t involve you.
How many meetings have you attended in the last year?
William Riesen: Every one.
Nancy Clarke: I started attending the board meetings in the middle of the summer when I decided to run for the pool board. I have attended I believe four meetings since I started attending. I missed one when I was sick, but I have been at every meeting since I decided to run for the board.
Cheryl Howell: I would say five or six. I am new to this, I will admit that. I’m trying to learn every day more about the issues. That’s all I can do, is try.
Ronnie Adreon: I have attended approximately six I believe, and actually that’s just this year when I started running.
How do we better promote the community pool to the community?
William Riesen: This is one of the things that I was just making reference to. The untapped resource. How do we get to them? One of the things we need to do is we need to get out in the community to let the people know we’re there by having new programs, exciting programs, programs that fit everybody’s need. One of my biggest things is I’m 70 years old and I’m starting to lose my balance. And as you age, you do lose balance. So one of the interesting programs I would like to do, and we actually have a person who can do this and is certified in this, is to have a class for balance. When you walk, you don’t walk in straight line. Your arms sway and your feet move different directions.
Nancy Clarke: I think by advertising, by promoting. I had my own business for 15 years. You get a lot by word of mouth, but you get a lot more by getting somebody’s attention. I’m sure you can get flyers in places and I’m sure we can get things in the school, because if we tell the kids about the pool, maybe they’ll come to the pool. Telling seniors about it. If you have somebody speak at the senior center, and tell them about the programs we have. Most people are unknowing about the fact we have a pool and that we have programs.
Cheryl Howell: I believe more advertising. A lot of folks I talk to in the last few months don’t know what we do with the pool, don’t know what the classes are at the pool, or are requesting special things for Special Olympics and such, and I don’t see anything going on. I think we need a lot more advertising, word of mouth, free passes, whatever it takes to get people there, because we have a really great pool in this community and I think that we really need to get the word out there.
Ronnie Adreon: In the past they’ve had triathlons, they had Dark Waters, and unfortunately both of those have been axed. It’s funny because I’ve had people ask me this year is there going to be a Dark Waters because they know I’m at the pool, and I’m like, unfortunately, no. So I would like to bring things back like that, because there’s a lot of people in Fernley that still do not know that we have a pool, and when you have the triathlon, the Dark Waters and such, then it’s promoting the pool.
What kind of activities can be expanded upon?
William Riesen: Well, the swimming pool was actually built to teach every child and/or person in the town of Fernley to swim. That’s a program that I believe can be expanded more than it is now. And second of all, water aerobics. You can have water aerobics for runners, bicyclists, gymnasts. All of those are special programs and those are the programs that I’d like to run. It’s important.
Nancy Clarke: That’s hard for me to know because I don’t know what all we can add. We have three Aqua Fit classes in the morning. I believe there’s one in the evening, but sometimes they’re canceled. We used to have them on weekends and then those were cancelled. I think if we had interest in people coming on weekends, I think we could have classes on weekends. Maybe classes in the middle of the day for moms whose kids are in school. Things the manager needs for kids to come to. Until I get in and look at it, I don’t know, but I think there is more we could be doing. The pool’s there if things were easy.
Cheryl Howell: Special Olympics, for one. I think we need something for the Special Olympics. Just getting more kids, more swim classes, teaching children to swim, and I think we need to get the people there so they can see what a great pool we do have.
Ronnie Adreon: One of the things I would like to see, and of course I can’t do it alone because I would have to talk with the other board members, but I would like to see more open swim. The pool is supposed to be a community pool. It’s not there for profit. Of course we want to make a little extra money so that we have money to do repairs and stuff, but it’s not there for profit and I would like to see more open swims, especially in the summer, because there’s really not a lot for our kids to do, and having two or three sessions that are only an hour and 15 minutes, that to me doesn’t seem like its community, because it’s being filled up with the different swim teams that are taking prime times. So I would like to see some more open swim. I’m in the process of making a new schedule to kind of present to the pool director and see if it would be something that was doable to get us more open swims, especially in the summer.
What knowledge, skills or ability do you have that would make you an asset to the pool board?
William Riesen: One is I’ve served on it, like I said. And second of all, my tax practice gives me a tax background and a budgeting background. So I’m not going to say I’m 100 percent perfect, but I do have that experience.
Nancy Clarke: For 20 years I’ve worked in the corporate world. My last job I had was managing 50 people in an office. It’s a challenge, but I did it. The next thing I did was run a business with my husband for 15 years. We at one point had six or eight employees. I did all of the purchasing and all of the figuring out quotes. Basically, if it needed to be done, I did it during that time. My husband was the chairman of the board for a Chamber of Commerce to a town about a 100,000 people, 6,000 businesses. So he was the one attending the meetings, I was the one coordinating getting him to the meetings and getting all the things that needed to be done. So I haven’t been on the board, but I’ve virtually been on the board. I also have a real passion for what’s going on at the pool and seeing that it’s used by the community and seeing that it’s used to its full potential and more of our community uses it.
Cheryl Howell: I have run a 258 mobile home HOA. I’ve run my own business. I was an insurance agent in California for many years, and like I said, I don’t know much about the pool board, but I’m willing to learn it and I’m trying to learn something every day.
Ronnie Adreon: Truthfully, I’ve never been on a pool board before, but as I mentioned earlier, I’ve been on a board, secretary and such with PTA and with Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and all these other things, and I don’t think I could do any worse.
How do feel about the pool being closed on school holidays and Sundays?
William Riesen: Well, we’re a 318 district governed by Nevada statutes and there was a lot of issues caused by closing it on the holidays, But our own bylaws basically stated that certain governmental, anything that was a federal holiday, would be closed. And so we meet those guidelines, and yes they upset a lot of people, but we have to go by our own guidelines, which we made rules for and I believe the city follows pretty much the same thing.
Nancy Clarke: I understand a lot of the holidays it’s being closed. I understand it has to do with payroll, etc. I would like to see it at least on the holidays that I feel are real family oriented, summertime type holidays such as Labor Day, Memorial Day and 4th of July. I’d like to see us have the pool open at least part of the day for families to use the pool, for families to have picnics in the park that we have right next to the pool. I think there’s an opportunity there for community involvement that we missed out on by being closed those three days. The other holidays, if we can justify having it open, because we can get the revenues to cover the additional wages that we have to have because of the holidays, I don’t see any reason for it to be closed. But those three holidays, I feel very strongly that we should be open. Those are family holidays.
Cheryl Howell: I completely disagree with that. I think most families only have a couple days to be off with their children. The majority it is Saturday and Sunday. You’re taking away one of those days. My pet peeve is the holidays, and I think the pool would be a great place to spend a holiday, and we don’t have that option right now in Fernley.
Ronnie Adreon: I don’t agree with that, because, again, there’s not a lot for our youth to do. And those are times when families are together, because a lot of parents may not be working as well, and they can’t go to the pool. I guess they’ll have to go out of town or go to Reno or go to Carson and give them our money. I would like to see it open again, maybe a shorter time. But be open.
Can you explain the Open Meeting Law?
William Riesen: OK, that’s interpretation in my opinion. We’ve had numerous run-ins, complaints by the public, and I’ll be up front with that, stating that we were violating the Open Meeting Law. What the Open Meeting Law basically is, is it brings to the forefront honesty by this board that I sit on. You don’t want to hide anything, you want to try to keep things public. We’ve had complaints. Some of them have been thrown out, some of them have stuck. What we consider to be within the guidelines, well, turns out, other people don’t think it is, and so we get hit with something. One thing I do want to state – we don’t get paid to be on that board. We’re volunteers that are elected by the public.
Nancy Clarke: Since my first exposure to the open meeting law was that meeting just a month or so ago, other than reading it and trying to learn about it, I don’t have extreme knowledge of it. But I am reading everything that I’ve been given and trying to become more aware of exactly what’s involved.
Cheryl Howell: No, I cannot.
Ronnie Adreon: Basically I cannot speak for other board members. I can give my opinion and make sure that it is stated that as for myself, I feel this way. I cannot speak for the others on the board. And basically no decisions can be made without the public being aware, and it has to be done in a timely manner, posted in several places that something is going to be talked about, so that the public has an opportunity to come and voice their concerns.
Why do you want to be on the Pool Board?
William Riesen: I have a lot to offer, I really do. Once again, getting back to I have the tax background, I have the budgeting background and I’ve sat on that board before. I’ve sat on another board. Like I said that was totally different than this pool board is, but without that expertise, it’s tough. There are so many rules and regulations you have to go by. Luckily I’ve had training now for it and I’ve had training previously. But rules change on pretty much a daily basis, so keeping up with the rules, that’s why I would be good for the board.
Nancy Clarke: I would like to see more of the community involved in the pool. It bothers me when there’s only a few people coming in and the pool’s there. It’s an asset we have in this town that a lot of towns don’t have. A lot of towns much bigger than us do not have anything nearly as nice as our pool, but we have to learn how to use it and we have to learn how to get the people involved. Make sure they know what’s here. Everybody in this town is in some way paying for the pool. If there a homeowner, they’re paying taxes themselves. If they rent there, the person who owns the property is paying taxes, so everyone has a vested interest in the pool. Let’s get them in the pool.
Cheryl Howell: I want to be on the pool board because I want to make changes. I use the pool. I see what goes on at the pool. I’m there, trying to get at least 5 days a week, and I want to see changes. I want to make it better for the community.
Ronnie Adreon: I feel our current pool board has become complacent because they’ve been doing it for so long and they don’t utilize the pool. I do, and some of the others that are running are also pool members. I just feel that we can make some better decisions that are more beneficial to the pool.
Do you have anything else to add?
William Riesen: All I can say is, this is going to be a tight race. There are six people running for three positions, and two of the incumbents couldn’t make it tonight. I’m the only incumbent that’s here. I think you’ll see a different perspective from each person running from the board. I’m basing mine on experience, and just put it this way, I’m not a politician, far from it, and I try to be as honest as possible and that’s basically it. I feel like I’d be good for the community.