Thursday, April 3, 2008 | 2 a.m.
If you don’t know Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins, here’s a tip. Don’t ask him about his parking habits.
A Sun reporter made that mistake Wednesday when he noticed Collins’ hulking Super Duty Turbo Diesel Ford F-350 near the front of the customer parking lot outside the Clark County Government Center.
For rank-and-file county workers, that’s a big no-no. They get chewed out for taking spaces designated for people seeking government services.
Instead, most employees park in a lot so far away the county provides a shuttle. There’s a closer, covered lot for senior county staff. Commissioners have their own parking area, a walled-in, covered lot abutting the government center. It’s known informally as the “Bat Cave” and a key card is required for access.
When the reporter asked county spokesman Erik Pappa whether the restrictions on the customer lot applied to commissioners, Collins wasn’t happy. Upon receiving a note from Pappa about the inquiry, Collins left a zoning meeting in progress and walked up to the Sun’s closet-sized office next to the commission chambers, where he unleashed a profanity-laced tirade.
“You got a problem with where I park?” he said. “I can park anywhere I (expletive) want to ... I’m not depriving anybody ... I park like regular people do ... This is (expletive).”
He also said something about unloading stuff from his truck, then threw Pappa’s note and a copy of the county’s administrative parking rules on the reporter’s desk and walked away.
The rules say: “Customer lots are for customers of the Clark County Government Center, Regional Transportation Commission and Regional Flood Control only.”
Pappa later explained that the rules don’t apply to commissioners. County Manager Virginia Valentine sets the rules for employees but not her bosses, he said.
And for the rest of the day Collins’ big white truck remained in the customer lot.