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July 29, 2014

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Constable, commissioner pay and drones on tap for discussion at County Commission

The ongoing feud between Clark County commissioners and Las Vegas Township Constable John Bonaventura will come to a head Tuesday when the board will discuss abolishing his office.

Commissioners also will discuss giving themselves a pay raise during their regularly scheduled meeting, which starts 9 a.m. Tuesday at the county government building.

On Wednesday, commissioners will meet as the zoning commission.

Here’s a closer look at some of what commissioners will be discussing:

Closing down the constable

Bonaventura has been a source of consternation for the commissioners since he was elected Las Vegas Township Constable in 2010.

His office has been dogged by allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace and misconduct by officers in the field. Critics described a profanity-laden reality television pilot documenting the office as unprofessional while an ongoing lawsuit Bonaventura filed against other local constables has created a legal headache for the county.

Bonaventura is an elected official and his office is self-funded through fees collected by serving civil documents like subpoenas, property liens and eviction notices.

Although there’s little the commissioners can do to curb Bonaventura’s bad behavior, state law does allow them to abolish the office entirely. Commissioners will discuss the option during a public hearing that likely will feature testimony from Bonaventura and his deputies.

If the commission votes to abolish the office, it won’t go into effect until Bonaventura’s term ends in 2015.

Pay day

As recession-battered governments in Southern Nevada scrambled to balance budgets, Clark County commissioners mostly have passed up raises they were entitled to under a 2007 law, going so far as to take a 2 percent pay cut in 2011.

Since 2005, the commissioners’ salaries have risen 6 percent to the current rate of $72,488 plus benefits.

With the economy improving and the county’s budget outlook looking less dire, county manager Don Burnette said now is an appropriate time for commissioners to discuss their compensation.

It’s unclear what – if any – action the commission will take, although commissioners are entitled to up to a 10 percent raise under provisions of a 2007 law.

Droning on

1955 Nevada Color Atom Bomb Test

Nevada’s vast desert expanses made it an ideal location when the United States government began testing atomic weapons in the 1950s.

Although the bomb explosions have stopped, the Nevada desert could once again become a testing ground for advanced military technology.

This time around local leaders are dreaming of drones, technically named unmanned aerial systems, and all the research, training, testing and manufacturing jobs that would come with the industry.

The federal government is in the process of selecting at least six sites around the country to test drones and determine how to incorporate them safely into the national airspace.

On Tuesday, the Clark County Commission will consider a resolution supporting efforts to bring the drone industry to Nevada. If passed, the resolution would allow county staff and officials to begin working with congressional and state leaders, the defense and technology industries and other interested parties to earn the drone test-site designation.

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