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October 25, 2014

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County Commission clarifies process for filling vacant legislative seats

Clark County Commissioners approved a new process Tuesday to streamline applications for vacant legislative seats.

The issue: After appointing a replacement legislator in December, Commissioner Mary Beth Scow asked that a more formal process be brought before the commission for discussion

The vote: The item was not up for vote; instead, commissioners provided guidelines to staff to formalize the appointment process.

What it means: After Tuesday’s discussion, county staff will begin advertising legislative vacancies more publicly and will create a new form allowing those interested to apply to fill the seat.

In December, commissioners appointed Lesley Cohen to replace Assemblywoman April Mastroluca, who abruptly resigned in November.

Scow said she heard from constituents that many people didn’t know how or where to apply to be considered as a replacement, which prompted her to ask for a more formal and transparent process.

“There wasn’t a lot of clarity to the public on what the process was and who to go to,” Scow said. “It’s important to make it very clear to the community that we are the group that makes the decision.”

The plan presented to commissioners, which received widespread support, would create an application residents could fill out to be considered for the vacant seat, provided they live in the same district as the vacancy and are registered with the same party as the legislator who previously held the seat.

Those applications would be distributed to commissioners, and the commissioner whose district the vacancy falls in could interview suitable candidates.

The full board would then consider nominations and vote to appoint the replacement at a regularly scheduled meeting.

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