The welfare and safety of residents, town staff and board members came before the Pahrump Town Board Tuesday.
Board members discussed whether the town should approve appointing a constable to provide security at town board meetings.
Board Chairman Harley Kulkin authored the agenda item tasking his fellow board members to consider such an appointment.
Kulkin said this week that numerous instances of disruptions and lack of civility at past meetings prompted him to address the matter.
“I have been for a constable because twice I have asked for someone to be removed and we have no support from the sheriff’s office. Those same people who disrupt our meetings would never do that at a county commission meeting. They would be hauled away and locked up just as I have been. It seems that they can do anything and just take over a town board meeting and nothing happens. No charges have ever been filed for totally taking over a town board meeting. They get way out of control; they’re very abusive and threatening. It’s scary. If you asked them to be removed, nothing happens,” he said.
Kulkin said he has engaged in conversations with Town Manager Susan Holecheck and Nye County District Attorney Brian Kunzi regarding the possible appointment of a law enforcement officer during town board meetings, which are held twice a month.
He also said the costs of funding the position would be nominal.
“A constable is allowed in an unincorporated town but it’s not much of a salary. It would just be a part-time job, but it is needed. It would be nice for someone that is looking to earn a few extra dollars who has past law enforcement experience and wants to stay active. It would benefit the person and the town,” he said.
Kulkin was elected to the board in 2010. Since that time he says he has witnessed screaming matches, verbal threats and even the attempted arrests of fellow board members at the hands of members of the local Republican party.
During a town board meeting last June, the audience members stood up and announced their intention of performing a citizen’s arrest on board members who voted to repeal an ordinance passed in 2005 making it unlawful for any person or group to file a petition supporting the town ’s incorporation.
Kulkin said he has personally spoken to local residents who are afraid to attend the regular town board meetings largely due to unruly individuals who continuously disrupt the proceedings.
“People tell me on a regular basis that they won’t come to a town board meeting because of a certain element that shows up and they are afraid. One young lady came up to me and said she would have liked to speak but she was afraid of some of the people in the audience and that’s just not right. All people have the right to feel comfortable and safe in an environment especially a public one,” he said.
Holecheck, meanwhile, said that if such an appointment is approved by the board, the constable may have additional duties outside of town board meetings.
“I can tell you that almost every day I get a phone call from people talking about code enforcement issues. If they have a lot of weeds next to their property, they’re concerned about fires. Some people will license their business as a handyman and then we come to find out that they are doing more than just handyman work. There are also graffiti issues and I’m not sure whether the board is going to vote in favor of it. It’s just a thought and if the board likes the idea, we probably wouldn’t budget for it until March or April so it wouldn’t go in until next year. Right now it’s just a discussion item,” she said.
Due to time constraints, results of Tuesday’s agenda items will appear in Friday’s edition of the Pahrump Valley Times.