February 15, 2017 - 3:00 pm
Updated December 8, 2017 - 12:18 pm
The head of the state department that oversees the Nevada Transportation Authority fired two top officials Wednesday after a Review-Journal investigation found lapses in background checks for an agency supervisor with multiple DUI arrests.
Bruce Breslow, director of the Nevada Department of Business and Industry, said he fired the two men because he needed to make a change at the NTA.
“Agency policies and procedures were in place and were not followed,” Breslow told the Review-Journal. “The agency and Department of Business and Industry are working to strengthen the policies further. The Agency should do an annual review of its investigative officers’ driving record and background check.”
Breslow fired transportation enforcement chief Michael Bradford, who supervised Robert Reasoner, the NTA employee with three DUI arrests who crashed a state vehicle last month.
Deputy commissioner Christopher Schneider also lost his job, but he was not directly involved with the Reasoner case.
“A change was made to strengthen NTA’s leadership for the future and to help ensure the safety of the traveling public,” Breslow said.
The investigation is ongoing, but NTA staff did not conduct regular background checks, he said. The NTA’s sister agency, the Nevada Taxicab Authority, which regulates Clark County taxis, did routine background checks of its employees.
Reasoner, 36, crashed a state vehicle into a parked car Jan. 5 and fled the scene, police reports show. The Review-Journal investigation found that Reasoner had three DUI arrests starting in 2006 – two years before joining the NTA. His other arrests were in 2011, when he pleaded guilty to a lesser reckless driving charge, and in 2016, when he was found guilty of his second DUI, court records show.
Despite that history, officials promoted Reasoner to supervisor in 2013 and allowed him to drive a state vehicle until the crash in January. He remains on paid administrative leave pending the investigation.
Unlike Reasoner, Bradford and Schneider were at-will employees, and Breslow could fire them.
Carson City prosecutors charged Reasoner with leaving the scene of an accident and having two open cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer in his state vehicle during the Jan. 5 incident, court records show.
Bradford joined the NTA in 2006 as a compliance audit investigator and recieved a promotion to chief less than two years later. Schneider joined the NTA in August 2015.
Bradford made a salary of about $96,000 a year, and Schneider made about $98,000, records show.
Neither man could be reached for comment Wednesday.
Ronald Delgado, a management analyst, was appointed acting deputy commissioner while the agency searches for new leadership.
The day after the first Review-Journal story about Reasoner ran Jan. 26, Breslow issued a statement saying he was taking the investigation out of the hands of his department to ensure a thorough review.
“I was appalled by the recent information concerning a peace officer within the Nevada Transportation Authority (NTA),” he said in the statement. “It raises multiple serious questions about this latest incident, the alleged past history of the officer and the management of the enforcement division.”
Contact Arthur Kane at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @ArthurMKane on Twitter.