WINNEMUCCA — The Humboldt County Commission appointed an engineer with a background in planning to the Regional Planning Commission (RPC) last week to fill one of two vacancies on that board. Sandy Bengoa-Lutz is a short-term planner with Marigold Mine and was among five candidates who applied for the job.
The RPC has had three resignations since February. In a short time period Stephen Nye, Joyce Cox, and Rich Brown all resigned from the embattled board. The RPC has come under intense public scrutiny over actions they took in 2007 in connection to the proposed Jungo Rd. Landfill.
Bengoa-Lutz grew up in Humboldt County on a Kings River ranch. After graduating from high school she studied civil engineering at UNR, which included the study of landfill designs and the government regulations that go along with it. She worked for a time with an engineering firm in Sparks before getting married then moving back toHumboldt County.
She told the commission her job with the engineering firm gave her many learning opportunities — including a project where she designed a subdivision that included sewer and water treatment facilities.
During the interview process, Commissioner Mike Bell asked her how she responded to controversy.
Bengoa-Lutz replied she preferred to avoid confrontations; however, she has attended supervisor training through Marigold that has helped her manage conflict – with special reference to conflicting personalities.
She expanded and said she is the type of person who prefers to listen and get all the information before making up her mind. She later added she thought it was important to keep her own opinions out of RPC decisions, which should be based on facts and credible information.
When asked by Commission Chairman Chuck Giordano about the possibility of the commission having the final say on conditional use permits on projects like the proposed Jungo Rd. landfill, she responded and expressed her doubts that CUPs would come before the commission on a limited basis. That is, she felt it would be all or nothing.
During discussion on the appointment, the commissioners noted there was a good group of candidates but Bengoa-Lutz stood out due to her education, work history relevant to the planning commission, and for the way she articulated the answers to the questions.
The commission and Winnemucca City Council appoint members on a rotating basis. The council appointed Giovette Cassinelli to replace Nye. The commission appointed Bengoa-Lutz, and the city council will appoint the last vacancy.
The applications of the four other candidates will be forwarded to the council. The candidates were: Bill Douglas, Michael K. Meagher, Theresa Mavity, and Robert (David) Baker.