By Selwyn Harris
There is still a very noticeable gap between Pahrump Town Board Chair Vicky Parker and her board colleague Mike Darby when they sit on the dais during town board meetings.
That gap appeared abruptly seven months ago when former board member Carolene Endersby resigned in March.
According to Nevada Revised Statutes, when a vacancy occurs on the town board, the governor is supposed to appoint a qualified individual to fill the seat.
It would appear Gov. Brian Sandoval is taking just a bit more than his sweet time.
Parker said she is surprised and a little taken aback that Sandoval has not made an appointment after so long.
“They will not return Town Manager Bill Kohbarger’s phone calls. I wrote a letter six months ago and not only did I not get an answer, I didn’t even get an acknowledgement that I sent the letter,” she said.
Parker also noted that the governor did not hesitate to make an appointment when a vacancy occurred on a town board in northern Nye County.
“The Tonopah Town Board got an appointment from the governor to replace a member on their board. According to our attorney, the governor has nine to 12 months to make an appointment before we can do anything about it. He said we couldn’t do anything until after the general election,” she said.
The governor’s office has also failed to respond to repeated phone calls and emails from the Pahrump Valley Times regarding the appointment.
As far back as April, the town board submitted the names of at least three, and possibly four, individuals who expressed an interest in filling the vacancy.
One of the three was Don Rust, who had previously served as a town board member.
Rust, a 17-year resident, is a past president of the League of Women Voters of Pahrump Valley.
He served on the town board from 2006 to 2008.
Gregory Moynahan, a seven-year resident, is presently the general manager of Mountain Falls Golf Club and Grill Room.
He is also the project manager for William Lyon Homes at Mountain Falls. Knowledgeable sources say Moynahan got the nod from the governor early in the process, only to be told to hold his horses.
Robert Adams is presently the chair of the Pahrump Public Lands Advisory Board. His name was also submitted.
A fourth candidate considered for the empty seat is Stuart Smith — famous for his “Stu for Mayor” ads. He’s a longtime Pahrump resident and bookkeeper.
At the time, Kohbarger said the action to forward the names to the governor for selection is standard practice for the town but that the ultimate decision falls on the governor.
“The governor does not have to honor any of those three names. He can choose whomever he deems necessary,” he said.
On Wednesday, Nye County District 4 Commissioner Butch Borasky said he too is frustrated that the governor or his staff has not responded to his phone calls on the matter.
“I contacted the governor’s office through a third party and asked him if he would ask the governor what’s going on and why they haven’t filled the position. I have not gotten a response back. I have actually contacted the governor’s office three or four times and have not gotten a response. Maybe he is just too busy to respond to the people who put him in office,” he said.
Borasky said the lack of action on the governor’s part is jeopardizing the town when the board votes on serious issues pertaining to the municipality.
“He is putting the town board at a serious disadvantage. They should have a full body regardless of how they do their job. It should always be five people. When you have only four, you create all kinds of nightmares for each other on voting. To me I think he is doing a disservice to Pahrump even though there were recommendations from the town board,” the commissioner said.
Board member Dr. Tom Waters said he too has gotten the cold shoulder on the matter.
“I am very concerned about that. I have spoken to several people in the governor’s office and asked them if they could research the matter to give us some answers because we really don’t know. They haven’t returned calls to the town office,” he said.
Waters echoed Parker’s feelings about appointments to other boards within Nevada.
“The governor has filled other slots on advisory board as far as I know, but the Pahrump Town Board is the only one that has been left vacant. I don’t even want to speculate. I really don’t know and I’d like to get some answers but I really have none. Anything would just be speculation,” he said.
With a ballot question pertaining to the town board’s very existence coming up in November’s general election, Waters said he believes that it is unlikely that the two issues are related due to the timing of Endersby’s exit.
“Carolene Endersby resigned in March and all of that had not happened at that time. I try to move those things out and look at where we were in March when she resigned. We submitted three names and the governor had the opportunity to pick one of those or anybody else. Again, I really don’t have any idea,” he 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 along with Amy Riches are currently running for the town board in the upcoming general election next month. Parker is seeking re-election.