Happy birthday, Chief Mieras

Pedro Martinez is a public administrator.

Mike Mieras is a police officer.

In his job, Martinez encounters bureaucratic risks.

In his job, Mieras encounters life and death risks—and bureaucratic risks.

Schools superintendent Martinez is more or less the face of the school district.

Schools police chief Mieras became more familiar to the public when he helped lead the community through a school shooting.

When Martinez came up for his last job review, he got some warnings about his performance.

Mieras, as far as anyone can tell, has had a stellar record in his job.

Mieras was fired, by Martinez, because it suited some nebulous bureaucratic purpose.

Martinez was put on paid leave by the Washoe County School Board, according to the board, because of his conduct in refusing to participate in a required administrative hearing process to check out some claims about his background.

His fellow citizens objected weakly for Mieras, then the controversy died out even as news became known, through his job evaluations, of what a fine job he had done for the schools. Most of the members of the school board said of Mieras, “What Martinez wants, he gets.”

Community figure Leslie Mix, businessman Perry Diloreto, and the governor’s wife, Kathleen Sandoval, leaped to support Martinez without knowing all the facts, which were not released until the school board’s court filing was disclosed last week (see news, page 8).

When Martinez, a hired gun whose previous career stops included Chicago and Las Vegas (when he got the Reno job he was also an applicant in Philadelphia), fired Mieras, a 13-year employee of the school district, Mix, DiLoreto and Sandoval all remained silent.

Would Perry DiLoreto tolerate an employee who defied him as the school board claims Martinez did? Does Leslie Mix feel justified in the public stand she took before hearing from both sides? Does Nevada’s first lady have a level of gratitude to the 13-year police chief equal to that of the newly arrived superintendent?

Yep, the school board screwed up on open meeting matters, rushed the process, took its time about giving its side of the story, and generally blundered all through the Martinez matter.

That doesn’t redeem Martinez’s shoddy behavior in the Meiras matter, nor does it redeem Martinez’s supporters who pick and choose which injustices they will oppose.

Martinez has his job back and is more defiant toward the school board than ever.

Mieras is job hunting.

In the course of researching this whole dispute, we learned that this coming week Mieras will “celebrate”—if he can—his 53rd birthday.

There he is, facing down the barrel of middle age and out of work after playing by the rules, doing his best, achieving proudly and serving his neighbors. It would not be surprising if he felt that the “leaders” of this community have been less than grateful to him for his long commitment to Washoe County.