70°F
weather icon Clear

Former Vets Home admin returns to NDVS after previous $750,000 Legionnaires’ settlement

As a very local newspaper, the Boulder City Review does not usually cover the machinations of government at the state level. But in this case, there are multiple BC connections.

It’s been a tumultuous week at the Nevada Department of Veterans Services, the agency which oversees both the Southern Nevada Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery and the Nevada State Veterans’ Home, both located in Boulder City.

The headline news as that Fred Wagar, the director of NDVS, appears to have been fired by Gov. Joe Lombardo. While inquiries to the governor’s office about Wagar’s status and details about his separation had not been replied to by press time, reporting by other newspapers, including the Reno Gazette-Journal, indicates that he was dismissed. Lombardo’s outgoing chief of staff, Ben Kieckhefer, is reported to have said that Wagar’s removal was a “personnel decision.”

The news came out only via an email sent to NDVS employees by NDVS Communications Director Terri Hendry. The email reads: “Dear Team - Following a change in leadership this afternoon, Governor Lombardo has now designated Lisa Maciel as Acting Director of the Nevada Department of Veterans Services. A permanent director will be announced in the coming weeks.”

Maciel was named as deputy director of benefits less than three months ago, a position which put her in charge of the veterans’ cemetery. Her appointment as interim director took effect on Friday of last week.

Meanwhile, three days earlier, Hendry sent a press release saying that a veteran of the veterans’ home was returning to NDVS, this time in the role of deputy director of health care services, a position that places this person in charge of both of the veterans’ homes in Nevada. The person in question here is Mark McBride, who served as the administrator of the veterans’ home in Boulder City in 2015.

The release highlights McBride’s 21 years of experience in health care, which includes 11 years as an administrator in skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities.

In a BCR story dated Oct. 23, 2015, McBride was quoted as saying, “While I have enjoyed leading the Nevada State Veterans’ Home this past year, it was my decision to resign my appointed position and return to the private sector.”

In a Jan. 2, 2016 story in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, it was first revealed that the family of Charles Demos had filed a lawsuit, which specifically named McBride, over Demos’ death, which occurred while he was a resident at the veterans’ home.

According to the Review-Journal story, “And although 2015 found him up in years at age 88, he deserved a better fate than his “untimely and preventable death” in April as a result of contracting Legionnaires’ Disease at the Nevada State Veterans’ Home in Boulder City. Charles Demos Sr. was a fighter in life, and his surviving son continues to fight in his name.”

That story continues, “Through attorney Martin Little, a complaint and class action lawsuit was filed in District Court in December on behalf of the Demos estate and family that accuses Nevada Department of Veterans Services Administrator Mark McBride of failing to ‘implement a proper program for the prevention, detection, or control of legionella bacteria and the prevention of Legionnaires’ Disease.’”

In 2017, the state paid out a settlement of $750,000 to settle the family’s legal action.

THE LATEST
Former fire chief Gray discusses termination

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind for the city, and specifically the fire department, as questions of whether or not Will Gray was still employed as that department’s chief spread through town.

Breeding proposal breeds opposition

Judging by the number of people speaking out against it during public comment at the last city council meeting and the tone of numerous social media posts, the proposal to allow for licensed pet breeders to operate in Boulder City is itself breeding a growing opposition. And the opposition appears to be spilling over into other pet-centric issues, including the fact that, unlike anywhere else in Clark County, Boulder City does not require dogs to be on a leash in public.

Wanted: A good home for theater seats

For those who have either grown up in Boulder City or are longtime residents, the Boulder City Theatre holds a special place in the hearts of many.

Hangars and OHVs and pool people, oh my

In a meeting with only two council members present in the room (and the other three on the phone) and in which the major attention was divided between a contentious possible law concerning pets and the fact that the city manager had announced he was leaving for a new job on the East Coast, the council did take a series of other notable actions.

Look, up in the sky…

Ron Eland/Boulder City Review

Council hears plan for golf course turf reduction

Reducing water usage in Southern Nevada has been a subject that has affected the look of clean, green Boulder City multiple times in the past year.

City confirms fire chief no longer employed

After more than two weeks of inquiries by the Boulder City Review, late Tuesday afternoon the city confirmed that Boulder City Fire Chief Will Gray is no longer employed.

Residents weigh in on 99 Cents Store’s shuttering

In what came as a surprise to many who are frequent shoppers, officials from 99 Cents Only Stores announced last week that all of their 371 locations will be closing over the next several weeks.

Four suspects arrested in graffiti case

On Jan. 22, many residents were shocked by a rash of graffiti throughout town, which included the historic Boulder City Theatre.