By Selwyn Harris
Pahrump Town Board member Carolene Endersby abruptly resigned her position during Tuesday’s regular meeting.
She read a letter of resignation into the record and then exited the meeting, leaving many in the audience and even fellow board members stunned.
Endersby submitted a letter of resignation to the Nevada Secretary of State office stating that she will be relocating to another state.
An unnamed source told the Pahrump Valley Times that Endersby is dealing with personal issues and was commuting from California to attend the board meetings. Attempts to contact Endersby by phone were met with a disconnection recording.
One puzzling aspect of her departure was the fact the Endersby’s brief resignation letter differs from that of her statement to town staff and fellow board members.
In part, the letter states, “I have worked hard researching, speaking with stakeholders, and becoming as knowledgeable as possible regarding subjects which impact our community. This I have done without compensation and as thoroughly as I could with the restraints put upon elected officials. Therefore, I formally submit this as my letter of resignation in accordance with the following NRS 283.040.
At the meeting, however, Endersby cited strong differences with fellow board members as her reason for stepping down.
“I resigned only because I cannot, with clear conscience remain on this board. I ran on a platform of reasonable, responsible representation and to perform those responsibilities under the present government is not possible. The present board officers are in place due to a coup performed by the chair so she may get what she wants. This was accomplished through the willingness of staff and legal counsel to allow for ascension of power rather than through the requirements for a fair election by the entire town board as outlined in state law,” she said.
By naming the board chair in her explanation for resigning, Endersby was referring to board member chair Vicky Parker.
Parker said on Wednesday that she would not directly respond to Endersby’s comments but did note that Gov. Brian Sandoval would likely appoint Endersby’s replacement. “There is nothing I really have to say other than I wish her well. We’re going to probably advertise and then accept applications and the town board will pick two or three and send the names on to the county to recommend to the governor. It’s kind of a convoluted process. She’s not going to be replaced anytime soon,” Parker said.
Board member Dr. Tom Waters said he was taken aback when Endersby approached him just before the meeting and informed him of her decision.
“She told me she was going to do it and I had no idea what she was going to say. The real reason she resigned was that she wanted to be closer to her children and I definitely understand that,” Waters said.
He also noted that he tried to persuade his colleague to reconsider her decision.
“I told her that I really don’t want you to resign, and she said, ‘Tom I’ve already made my decision and I made it because of my family.’ With that in mind, I knew there was no way that I would be able to talk her out of it,” Waters said.
With Endersby’s seat vacant, the board’s five member voting process will be greatly affected as the chance of a 2-2 deadlock has increased.
Ironically, that was the case on at least one agenda item authored by Waters that addressed town board vacancies.
“On the issue where I wanted to change the town board policy, it ended up 2-2 so it did not pass. It takes three votes to pass anything so that’s about the way it’s going to go. I thought it was going to be 3-to-1,” he said.
Board member Mike Darby said Endersby’s unexpected announcement at the meeting threw him for a loop.
“I understand she has had some personal problems but there were some issues between her and other board members and I guess it just escalated to the point where she thought it was just best to leave,” he said.
Endersby’s abrupt departure from the meeting drew the ire of board member Harley Kulkin who asked her to stay and listen to what he had to say about her resignation.
“I would like to say something to Mrs. Endersby before she leaves if she would show respect to stay. I have been through more to be able to sit here than anybody on this board. I believe your excuses are just that. Excuses,” he said.
On Wednesday, Kulkin said he was not entirely surprised by Endersby’s resignation, but he said that he was not sure what to make of her statements.
“I was sort of thinking that might come along, but I was a little surprised at her speech. I enjoy working with all people because you can learn something from everybody. All I can say is politics is not for everybody. It’s a tough ring to venture in. I wish her well in the future,” he said.
Town Manager Bill Kohbarger also summed up his thoughts on Endersby.
“I wish her all the best in her future endeavors,” he said.
Parker, meanwhile, noted that over the past decade there have been just a handful of town board members who have served complete terms. “Richard Billman, Nicole Shuup, and Laurayne Murray and that’s it. There has been a lot of people on the board that come and go. Whoever is appointed will finish out Carolene’s term, which expires in 2014,” she said.
Bill Dolan and Frank Maurizio were the last members appointed to the town board in 2008 by then Gov. Jim Gibbons.
Both were defeated in their efforts to retain their respective seats in 2010; they are currently running for the town board in the primary election.
Endersby, along with Waters, was elected to the town board in 2010.