The Nevada Supreme Court’s recent decision to disband the Pahrump Town Board at the end of the year does not go far enough for at least one group in Pahrump – they want the town board recalled immediately.
The group, Citizens for an Ethical Town, filed an Intent to Recall petition last Thursday at the Nye County Clerk’s office.
The group intends to recall Chairman Harley Kulkin, Vice Chair Bill Dolan, Dr. Tom Waters and Robert Adams.
Board member Amy Riches was not named in the action.
An email authored by Commissioner Donna Cox explains the group is upset because the town used a large amount of taxpayer money to pay for the town’s legal efforts to avoid dissolution.
Cox is President of Concerned Citizens for a Safe Community headquartered in Pahrump.
“Their goal is to remove the town board before their term of office is up the last of December 2014, to save money. They have up to 90 days to do this,” the commissioner wrote.
Citizens for an Ethical Town has been a legal entity for roughly two weeks.
Chairman Mike Reimler said the organization has three official members and thousands of “unofficial members.”
He noted that his group believes the town is trying to spend as much money as it can on projects before the county takes hold of the purse strings.
“We are upset at the amount of money that the town seems to be trying to just get rid of. It’s kind of like a ‘spoil-sport’ type thing. They want to leave us high-and-dry when they are gone,” he said on Tuesday.
In fiscal year 2013-2014, the town spent more than $213,000 on legal services where a majority of the funds went to retainer fees and services for defending the town’s lawsuit against the county regarding the 2012 ballot question the Nevada Supreme Court ruled on this month.
The town may legally defend itself against litigation by virtue of state law.
Though the Citizens for an Ethical Town is upset by the town’s use of funds in litigation matters, the recall effort could cost the county as much as $30,000 to remove a board that the Nevada Supreme Court ruled will be null and void in a matter of months.
Nye County Clerk Sandra Merlino said this week the group will need to collect enough signatures within 90 days just to initiate the process to recall.
The group needs more than 3,000 signatures on each board member to recall them.
All told, more than 12,000 signatures must be obtained and verified by the clerk’s office.
“Once they turn those petitions into our office, we have a certain amount of time to verify the signatures. If everything is correct, then we would hold an election within 30-to-60 days, which could potentially put an election in October. If they don’t have enough, then the petition is basically null and void,” she said.
The fact that the recall effort parallels the 2014 primary election makes the task of verifying signatures more difficult for office staff as resources are already limited and stretched.
“Most elections cost about $30,000 to $45,000 and that includes recalls. During federal and statewide elections, the state pays for a lot of the work. They pay for the maintenance and the vendors to come out and help us program. If it’s a total county election, then the county pays for everything,” she said.
Reimler, meanwhile, said he’s not sure how many signatures have been collected thus far.
He said that Amy Riches had previously agreed to step down from her seat if it was “the will of the people.”
Late last year, a recall effort initiated by two local residents on Riches and Cox failed.
Though recall efforts are not rare, the successful ones certainly are.
The last successful recall in Nye County was against former Public Administrator Robert “Red” Dyer in 2000.