Frankie Sue Vows She's No
'Tool of Federal Government'

   By Del Tartikoff
copyright (c) 1996, Electric Nevada

Stung by public criticism made in a mere letter-to-the- editor last month, Nevada Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa geared up her word processor and -- all cylinders shooting sparks -- fired back at the author.
Even though few Nevadans probably either read the letter or knew who the author was, Del Papa felt it necessary to protest she is "not a tool of the federal government."
"You recently printed a letter from Eureka County Deputy District Attorney Zane Miles which was critical of the Attorney General's Office," wrote Del Papa to the Reno Gannett-Journal. "Mile's letter deserves a response."
Miles, in his letter, had not identified himself by his position. Nor had he criticized Del Papa's "office." Rather, it was Del Papa herself he drew attention to.
"If any questions remained about Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa's commitment to the federal government's agenda," wrote Miles, "it was answered during last week's U.S. Supreme Court arguments about whether adversely affected parties can sue for violations of the Endangered Species Act. The federales argued that resource users can sue only for more, not less, enforcement.
"Fifteen state attorneys general -- Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas,

Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Texas, Utah and West Virginia -- filed amicus curiae briefs asking the high court to rule that private parties and local government can sue to reduce the impact of the ESA on their various interests. Even the attorney general for ultra-liberal Hawaii stood up to the federal government on this issue. Almost all of the attorneys general of the western states opposed the federal position.
"Nevada filed no such brief in support of its citizenry," said Miles. He went on to note that Del Papa however has often filed "amicus briefs to support federal positions, to the detriment of Nevadans and their local governments."
Del Papa responded derisively: "Evidently, Miles, an unelected official, can afford to be an unmitigated advocate for a single cause. I cannot. I seriously consider competing interests of the state before putting the state's name on any document....
"Contrary to Mile's claims, I am not a tool of the federal government, or of anyone else. Miles has taken the view of the radical fringe in the fight over public lands and natural resources. ... I believe Miles is seriously

misguided. He does not represent the majority of Nevadans."
Maybe the reason Del Papa couldn't stand to leave the Miles letter alone was the final paragraph: "At least she didn't file a brief in support of the feds. Apparently she figured such kowtowing to the federal colossus might be too much for Nevadans to stomach."...

* * *

Frankie Sue also turns out to be heading for controversy over the role of her office in routing a $1 million contract to a firm the state government is getting ready to sue for unsatisfactory performance.
The state Board of Examiners, which includes Del Papa, along with Gov. Bob Miller, voted last month to approve the

contract with Best Consulting. The computer-consulting company was already being criticized by the state Information Services Department for performance in a contract with the state Taxation Department.
Marlene Lockard, state information services director, said Del Papa's office had advised her she had to sign the new contract -- for computer-related services at the Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety -- because Best Consulting met "all" requirements for the contract, even though its previous work had been evaluated as unsatisfactory.
State Budget Director Perry Comeaux also said his office was told that Best's prior performance was not relevant....

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