On July 1, after 20 years of working for the Incline Village General Improvement District — the last four as general manager — Indra Winquest formally separated from the district.

Such a move has sparked turmoil in the community, with a clear line in the sand between disagreeing parties. It was an ousting calculated by a trustee board that finally had the majority to do so, many argue. Others point to a need for improved IVGID management.

In response to Winquest’s separation, a recall effort for two trustees is taking place: Sara Schmitz, appointed, then elected in 2020, and current board chair Matthew Dent, appointed in 2015 and elected in 2016. A minimum of 1,801 signatures of registered voters in the IVGID boundaries is required by Sept. 20. If Nevada’s secretary of state determines that the petition is sufficient, a special election will be held within 20 to 30 days of that decision.


Petitioners did not seek to recall Trustee Ray Tulloch, part of the Schmitz-Dent majority, because at the time of submittal, Tulloch had not yet served the six months required to seek the removal of a public official.

In addition to the general manager’s departure, the recall of Schmitz and Dent calls attention to several underlying issues that have bedeviled the district in recent years that critics say happened at the hands of the pair: a lost funding opportunity, alleged violation of the trustee code of conduct by way of micromanagement, financial ties to an IVGID critic, the departure of top-level employees, and more.

“I’ve never seen our community come out in such legion numbers from the woodwork basically to say, we’re watching our community being torn asunder by a group of people who are perpetually aggrieved and we’re not gonna sit back and take it anymore,” said Tim Callicrate, a trustee from 2014 through 2022 and Incline resident for 38 years. Callicrate is one of the leaders in the recall effort and told Moonshine Ink, “We will exceed the 1,801 with no question. I believe that we will probably get 2,200 or more signatures.”

Contrarily, Schmitz is seeking optimism: “I believe in the good of people and I believe in positive dialogue and communication,” she said about the recall. “I guess I’m hopeful that people will start to better understand and recognize that what we are doing and what we are trying to do is really be very good fiduciaries for our community.”

TWENTY YEARS AGO, Indra Winquest was hired as a senior recreation clerk for IVGID. In 2018 he became the assistant general manager; two years later, he donned the GM title in full. Courtesy photo

The man, the myth

Winquest was liked by all — “the most trusted, effective, and well-liked IVGID GM in decades,” per a document listing the reasons for the recall.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for IVGID, its history, and overall mission and vision,” he wrote in an email to Moonshine. “I cannot say enough about the outstanding IVGID staff, they truly represent the pulse of the venues, programs, and services, and I have been extremely fortunate to be surrounded by a passionate and driven team. I feel that although never perfect, I am proud of the work that I have done and the service that I have passionately provided to IVGID and the community.”

He also complimented the board trustees he’s worked with over the years and wrote that he appreciated their commitment and service to Incline Village and Crystal Bay. “Lastly,” he added, “I have built lasting relationships within the community which is extremely humbling. If not for IVGID supporting my professional growth, this would not have been possible.”

Hired by the district in 2003 as a senior recreation clerk, he became recreation supervisor in 2005, parks and recreation superintendent in 2008, then director of parks and recreation/community services in 2014. In 2018, he was promoted to assistant GM before becoming interim general manager in 2019 and permanent GM in 2020.

“Indra came in with his 20 years with the district and he worked diligently to start pulling things around,” Callicrate said. “The pandemic hit. He did a spectacular job keeping a level head and keeping people employed and active and [addressing] house cleaning that needed to be done.”

As the figurehead of a public body in Nevada, Winquest went through annual public evaluations, where each trustee would rate and review his job performance. After participating in the 2022 evaluation — with a new approach that year, during which Dr. Bill Mathis of the Mathis Group interviewed the trustees to understand their analysis of Winquest — Schmitz, who rated the GM’s performance a 2.1 on a scale of one to 10, said the process was too subjective.

She pushed for change, a modification to the GM’s annual review process to become more measurable. “If you get to a point where you have defined goals, you have things that are measurable, it should become less subjective and more analytical, and therefore more consistent,” Schmitz said. “And give a person some constructive feedback so that if development is needed, it’s identified and it’s clear and it’s understood.”

On Sept. 28, 2022, a series of general manager goals for fiscal year 2022/23 was agreed on by the board. Come 2023, multiple agenda items reviewing the GM evaluation process were brought up and discussed: Evaluation forms would be provided to trustees on May 7, to be returned by May 19. The collective information would then be submitted to the board in time for the June evaluation meeting packet. The last evaluation-related agenda conversation took place at the May 25 meeting.

Somewhere between that meeting and the June 14 one, at which the public evaluation would be held, Dent says Winquest approached him to discuss a mutual separation in lieu of the evaluation. “Being the chair, you set the agenda and work through that process with the general manager,” Dent said. “So, prior to the agenda being published we removed the review from the agenda. I didn’t tell anyone in the community about that. [The agenda] got published on the Friday or Thursday [before June 14].”

The community noted the absence of review and by that mid-June meeting, the information had seeped out: Winquest’s job was on the line. Kendra Wong, who served as trustee from 2014 through 2022, said the news broke via “conversations with employees, conversations with Indra, [and] conversations with people in the community that were feeling worried for Indra.”

The first hour and 43 minutes of the nearly 5-hour board meeting was public comment, most focused on support for Winquest to maintain the helm of the IVGID ship. At one point, Trustee Michaela Tonking asked whether Winquest’s evaluation would take place at a later meeting, to which Dent replied, “We are not doing that … We need to place an item on the agenda for consideration of a separation agreement.”

Winquest released a letter as part of a June 23 special board meeting (at which his separation from the district was discussed and authorized), which stated in part, “based on current circumstances and discussions with the individual IVGID trustees, I feel that a discussion amongst the board of trustees regarding potential separation is warranted pursuant to my employment contract. This is not a voluntary resignation but a recognition that a mutual separation may be in my and the district’s best interest at this time. In regards to my annual review, I will confirm that the process has been put on hold to allow for thought and discussion, which I believe is in the best interest of all parties at this time.” (Read the full letter here.)

It was agreed that Winquest would receive severance pay for the remaining term of his contract, through June 30, 2024, plus lump sums for vacation and unused sick time. The grand total was estimated to be $269,037.73 based on a July 1, 2023, separation date.

I feel like people are riled up because they perhaps don’t fully understand what the roles and responsibilities of a GM are. And they’re upset because they lost someone that they really liked.”

~ Sara Schmitz

Schmitz confirmed with Moonshine that she had a conversation with Winquest prior to the separation announcement but wasn’t aware if other trustees had. “I just know that the option was to do a performance review, and in Nevada it’s required to be public, and then suddenly there was this option to do a separation agreement,” she recalled.

Dent said he had regular conversations with Winquest in advance. “I would say a few times we had talked about his performance and areas where he was doing good and areas where he could improve.”

Winquest shared that he never reached the temperature-check status with each trustee. “This being said, I had no issue with my pending annual evaluation if it were to occur,” he wrote.

Currently, Mike Bandelin is serving as interim general manager during the search for a permanent successor. Bandelin functions as the Diamond Peak Ski Resort general manager. He’s worked for IVGID since 1984.

TO RECALL OR NOT RECALL: Trustees Matthew Dent and Sara Schmitz (pictured here) are the subjects of a petition recall by Incline Village and Crystal Bay community members. The reasons include loss of a $25-million would-be donation, cause of GM Indra Winquest’s separation, and a lack of financial transparency, to name a few. Photo by Nina Miller/Moonshine Ink

Boiling tensions

Winquest’s departure was the straw that broke the camel’s back, though the buildup to that point was hefty. Internally, IVGID’s operations have changed since Schmitz joined the trustee board — for better, say some; for worse, say others.

“After she was on the board for several months, I was concerned that I was seeing things of micromanaging and non-trustee activities,” recalled Callicrate, later continuing, “I’m not gonna fault her for getting up to speed and getting her knowledge base there, because that’s important. You’ve got to understand the operations of the district, but you’re not an operational manager. She was basically trying to run the district as if she were the chief financial officer and she was a CEO and she was the general manager and chair of the board and legal counsel all rolled into one.”

Many people across social media, during board meeting public comments, and in conversations with Moonshine Ink brought up what was described as Schmitz’s micromanagement. Callicrate, as past board chair, said IVGID staffers at all levels told him Schmitz was “overstepping her boundaries as a trustee.”

Current employee Mark Helleckson posted on the Incline Village Facebook page about his experiences with Schmitz, “She often stopped at the beach booths and instructed us on how to do our jobs,” he wrote in part.

Former trustee and board chair Trustee Kendra Wong also heard from staffers who said they had micromanaging interactions with Schmitz. Wong says she experienced that herself at trustee meetings, writing in an email, “There are several meetings where Sara edited punctuation in contracts during the meeting, none of which would change the context of the contract we were approving.”

[Trustee Schmitz] was basically trying to run the district as if she were the chief financial officer and she was a CEO and she was the general manager and chair of the board and legal counsel all rolled into one.”

~ Tim Callicrate

Schmitz describes her role as a trustee as someone to set policy, oversight for said policy, and accountability for financials. The board discovered that some polices, she said, weren’t being implemented in alignment with what was written. Thus, to the comments of micromanagement, she continued, “It really comes down to proper oversight leadership and ensuring that we as a board and [I] as a board member, [am] fulfilling my duty for the community.”

Winquest said he couldn’t comment on the micromanagement claims.

Some changes that Schmitz implemented, such as the establishment of a robust audit committee, were recognized as helpful (Callicrate gave credit to Schmitz for the committee). Schmitz herself said when she first was appointed as a trustee to replace Phil Horan, she wanted “to try to dispel a lot of the angst as it relates to [IVGID’s] financials.” (Read our previous reporting on IVGID financials online: Complications in IVGID’s Quasi-Public Finances and The Audit and the Pipeline.)

That concern has proved warranted in some cases. “[The district] had to correct by $43 million [a] form getting turned into the state,” Schmitz said of a five-year capital plan. In the fiscal year 2023/24 budget were $33-million and $17-million errors. (Audit committee member Mick Homan pointed out to the Ink that the $43-million and $17-million errors were the result of unclear state guidance.) Additionally, “I discovered that last year when they turned in the tentative budget, they missed almost $4 million worth of revenue,” she said. “These are not little things, and it’s so important. We also need to have internal controls; we need to have them improved. We need to have them addressed.”

FOR GENERAL IMPROVEMENT: The Incline Village General Improvement District is a quasi-public agency chartered to provide water, sewer, trash, and recreation services for Incline Village and Crystal Bay. Washoe County is the entity that oversees IVGID. Photo by Ted Coakley III/Moonshine Ink

Beyond such claims of Schmitz being too in the weeds, the recall petition also calls attention to:

Elimination of the IVGID recreation fee for fiscal year 2023/24 — the first time such a move has happened — because of an accumulation of 500% more in IVGID’s fund balance than what is required by policy in reserves. Schmitz and Dent say the district shouldn’t be collecting money it’s not using; Callicrate says the amount was earmarked for upgrades and it’ll be a rollercoaster down the road when a future board has to raise the fee all over again.

Subsequently, the lowered rec fee reduced the value of resident punch cards (which provide the holder a decreased rate at IVGID facilities) from $156 to $91.

A rise in venue rates. The majority party points to inflation. “The rate increases far outpaced the inflation rate, so this reasoning doesn’t hold up,” countered Wong.

Failure to disclose an $800,000 loan from Incline resident Cliff Dobler to Dent. Dobler was appointed to the district’s audit committee by Dent, though not while Dent had a loan from him. While the Nevada Commission on Ethics did not deem the situation a violation, some residents still cry foul.

The departure of IVGID staff. Since the beginning of June, the district’s legal counsel (BBK), director of public works, director of food and beverage, and director of finance have left or announced their departures. No public statements were given for the reasons behind these moves.

The revoking of what would’ve been about a $25 million grant from the Dave and Cheryl Duffield Foundation, a charitable organization based in Incline. In early 2022, the IVGID Board of Trustees entered into a memorandum of understanding with the foundation to fund the expansion of the rec center, an identified need in IVGID’s 2018 Community Service Master Plan. Funding would be provided through a progressive grant, disbursed piece by piece by the foundation. The expansion would include a new multi-use gym, additional ancillary and administrational space, and supporting infrastructure (restrooms, kitchen, etc.). The deal was brought up at multiple board meetings throughout 2022 as plans were made.

At the Sept. 14, 2022, board meeting, the staff packet noted that upon reviewing three rec-center expansion design options that cost between $29.9 million and $33.8 million, the Duffield foundation “requested that the [design] team develop a footprint that reflected an estimate closer to the grant of $25,000,000.”

Thus, on the table for approval at that mid-September meeting was an option that removed the multi-purpose gym and suggested a downsized youth center from what was originally agreed on. The board, which learned of the changes in late August, was being asked to approve two recommendations: a grant agreement with the foundation to modify the scope of the expansion project and a letter of support for such modifications. Though there was an overall promise for $25 million, roughly $2.5 million thus far had in fact been approved by the board.

What followed was what some have described as a lack of communication and others see as an insidious move by Schmitz.

“The Duffield foundation wanted unanimous support from the board to move forward,” Wong wrote in a later email to community members. “The board voted four in favor (Callicrate, Dent, Tonking, and Wong) and one against (Schmitz) to move forward with the project. Lacking the unanimous support, the Duffield foundation has decided not to move forward with the project.”

Schmitz says she voted no because she wanted a discussion between trustees and IVGID staff about how the district could “fund an additional portion of the project to include a multi-purpose gymnasium” before a design was decided on, per a Sept. 30 email from the trustee to the foundation’s executive director, Jim Dugdale. She says she did not realize unanimity was required for the project to proceed.

Callicrate and Wong, both on the board at the time, said the requirement for unanimity was understood and that anything not included at the time could be considered for discussion later. While Winquest admitted he didn’t put the need for unanimous support in writing, he’s “confident [he] was clear” about a united front in individual conversations with trustees leading up to that Sept. 14 board meeting. Dent said he knew Schmitz would say no and that he was unaware of the need for a 5-0 vote.

Schmitz’s email to the foundation requesting further conversations and stating her “full and unconditional support of the project” went unanswered. Moonshine reached out to Dugdale with questions but received no response.

“I can’t fathom an entity, that if they cared about the community and this was so important, why would one no vote on a design do anything if [the Duffields] wanted to do it,” Schmitz said. “Why would my vote matter if they wanted to do it?”

Callicrate told Moonshine he spoke to Dave Duffield after the agreement was canceled. “He said, you can quote me, ‘The main reason we gave the grant was because of Indra [Winquest]. The main reason we took it away was because of Sara [Schmitz].’”

Duffield’s net worth as of publication is $12.8 billion. He’s the 141st richest person in the world, according to Forbes.

Though the fallout is nearly a year old, Incline Village and Crystal Bay residents remain frustrated. On the streets and online forums, discussion swirls about the lack of clear language requesting unanimity in the vote on the Duffield grant and about a small but vocal group that supported Schmitz yet disagreed with the expansion’s lack of shared community space (citing a focus on specific club uses but not general provisions); among other topics.

Schmitz said in hindsight, she would have voted for approval. “What I would prefer … is to say there should have been somebody on the board who is involved in this,” she added, noting Winquest’s role as primary negotiator for the deal.

THE CHAIR: On moving forward as a trustee board post-Winquest’s separation, chair Dent said, “I think we just need to stand by the policies that are in place and make sure they’re being followed. It’s the board’s job as the fiduciaries to oversee the budget, make sure the practices and policies and ordinance are all being followed, and to manage their one employee, being the general manager.” Photo by Nina Miller/Moonshine Ink

A clear divide

Both parties see their approach as improving the Incline Village/Crystal Bay community; one via restructuring, the other by reclaiming.

Dent said he’s happy with the shifted majority on the board — himself, Schmitz, and newly elected Tulloch — because projects are making progress: “We’re actually doing things, so I’m proud of being able to knock off a few of these projects that have been sitting on the sidelines for many, many years, such as the Incline Beach House and the effluent pipeline, several of these other projects. It’s nice to be in the majority and be able to vote to move things forward rather than to just say no, like previous boards have done.” Callicrate refuted that statement, saying that while he served as board chair with Dent and Schmitz, he had more 5-0 votes in the past five to seven years or longer.

On the recall attempt, Dent said he’s blessed to have had the opportunity to serve Incline for almost eight years: “I’m at peace with the process.”

Schmitz echoed Dent, pointing out what she sees as the benefits of trustee oversight even amid the recall effort taking place: “I would hope that people will pause, take the emotion level down a bit, and really try to understand what we are faced with as a board, what we can and cannot do, and how oversight is critically important as a fiduciary responsibility,” she said. “And when things are discovered that are inaccurate or policies aren’t being followed, or contracts are amiss, that as a board, we end up having to oversee a little more closely. It’s about leadership. What I feel that we are doing is demonstrating responsible leadership.”

She added, “I feel like people are riled up because they perhaps don’t fully understand what the roles and responsibilities of a GM are. And they’re upset because they lost someone that they really liked.”

Wong, whose eight-year tenure as trustee ended this past December, said though she was aware of the shift in majority on the board when she left, she “did not, in a million years envision we would be sitting where we are now. I thought they’d make some silly operational decisions, but none that would be irreversible that we couldn’t wait a year and a half till the next board gets seated and we could fix.”

Callicrate views the recall petition as a chance to get a grip on the situation.

“We have to take our community back,” he said. “We need to rebuild our community. That’s the main message, is we are trying to rebuild our community that we are watching being dismantled in record time. It’s critically important that everyone who can legally sign the petition does so and then votes in the recall when it’s called later this year.”

“The recall is because this current board isn’t listening to a majority of the community,” Wong added. “The recall isn’t personal; it is about what we want as a community.”


  • Alex Hoeft

    Alex Hoeft joined Moonshine staff in May 2019, happy to return to the world of journalism after a few years in community outreach. She has both her bachelor's and Master's in journalism, from Brigham Young University and University of Nevada, Reno, respectively. When she's not journalism-ing, she's wrangling her toddler or reading a book — or doing both at the same time.

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  1. IVGID needs to require Trustees to receive training on their new role as elected officials. Trustees have no business telling line employees how to do their jobs; if they feel that the line staff is not following District policy, that conversation should be between the Trustee and G.M.

    It sounds like Schmitz and Dent believe that they’re acting in the best interests of the District and community, but their hamfisted actions as Trustees (Schmitz ‘didn’t know’ that unanimity was required for the grant from the Duffield Foundation? Seriously? Distracted much?) and micromanaging District staff have resulted in discord and diminished morale.

    A recall vote will determine who has greater credibility with voters, Schmitz and Dent or Winquest, and may get the District back on track.