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County seeks interim clerk as retirement of longtime office-holder nears

Updated July 21, 2022 - 9:57 am

Nye County commissioners are seeking candidates to serve as interim county clerk upon the retirement of longtime clerk Sandra “Sam” Merlino in the coming weeks.

The task includes overseeing November’s general election, which the commission has voted to have conducted using paper ballots. In addition, the clerk’s office handles marriage licenses and applications for appointments, and acts as the clerk for the Fifth Judicial District Court.

The advertisement for county clerk will be posted at www.NyeCountyNV.gov.

Political opponents Mark Kampf and Darryl Lackey were up for consideration for appointment to the Nye County clerk’s seat on Tuesday.Both men are vying for clerk in November’s general election. But following debate from commissioners on Tuesday, officials decided to seek an outside candidate to serve as clerk until the election is decided.

Kampf, a Republican, faced a primary earlier this year and arose the victor from two GOP challengers, with roughly 48 percent of the vote. While running for election to the clerk’s office, he was also appointed as the temporary Nye County treasurer, following the resignation of former treasurer John Prudhont.

However, Kampf has resigned from that position in order to be considered for the clerk’s appointment. GOP primary winner Raelyn Powers will serve as county treasurer following her appointment on Tuesday by the commission. She faces no challenger in the general election for treasurer.

Lackey, who is running for county clerk in November with no party affiliation, did not appear on the June primary ballot but was required to submit a petition in order to have his name included in the general election — a process he said came with obstacles but which he ultimately completed successfully.

Nye County Commissioner Donna Cox on Tuesday stressed several times throughout the discussion that she did not feel it was appropriate for the commission to be choosing between just two political candidates upon whom the voters themselves will shortly decide, without having opened the position for applications from other interested persons.

Moreover, if appointed, either of those candidates would have direct access to the elections process, and Cox feared that would result in a lack of confidence by the public over the outcome of the election. She added that she believed making the appointment Tuesday afternoon could result in lawsuits.

The commission will readdress the clerk’s appointment during its next regular meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 2 at 10 a.m. The meeting can be attended in Tonopah at 101 Radar Road or in Pahrump at 2100 E. Walt Williams Drive. Residents and those who file applications can also join the conversation by calling into the county’s teleconference system, details for which will be included on the Aug. 2 agenda.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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