Monday, April 1, 2013 | 5 p.m.
The Las Vegas constable’s office is not needed, its duties can be handled by other agencies and the current officeholder is a source of seemingly unending “difficulties” for Clark County, Sen. Michael Roberson told a legislative panel Monday.
Roberson is sponsoring Senate Bill 294, which would immediately abolish the Las Vegas constable’s office. The Clark County Commission has already voted unanimously to abolish the office, but under state law that decision won’t take effect until Constable John Bonaventura’s term ends in January 2015.
Roberson said he would introduce an amendment pushing back the effective date to July 1 to give the county more time to transition.
Testifying in support of the measure, Roberson ticked off a list of embarrassing headlines generated by Bonventura since he took office in 2010, including filming a pilot for a reality television program that showed deputies in an unflattering light, wrongful termination lawsuits and refusing financial directives from the Clark County Commission.
“I personally see this as a public safety issue,” Roberson said. “The reckless behavior that I have seen over the last few years causes me great concern, not just for the reputation of Clark County and Las Vegas, but for the safety of citizens. When you have some of these folks in this particular office in neighborhoods with badges and guns, the typical citizen doesn’t realize it’s not Metro (police department).”
Clark County lobbyist Mike Murphy testified in support of the measure, as did two other Clark County constables.
Laughlin constable Jordan Ross said Bonaventura’s behavior has tainted the reputation of the other 10 constables in Clark County whose offices would not be abolished under Roberson’s bill.
Only two people testified against the bill, including one man whose parents are landlords and rely on the constable to help with eviction processes.
James Kimsey, of Las Vegas, accused Clark County commissioners of capriciously seeking to abolish the office because they don’t like Bonaventura.
“They haven’t produced a single factual report or statement to back up that this office isn’t necessary,” Kimsey said. “They want to get rid of John Bonaventura? Let the voters do it.”
Bonaventura did not attend the hearing.