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July 31, 2015

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County Government:

County, despite commissioner’s entreaty, won’t rush to name Brooks’ replacement

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Mona Shield Payne

Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak

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Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins

With the legislative session nearing its midway point, Clark County commissioners won’t have the luxury of time when considering a replacement for ousted Assemblyman Steven Brooks.

Commissioners have a regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, but there currently is no item on the agenda to appoint a replacement for Brooks, who was expelled Thursday from the Assembly.

County spokesman Erik Pappa said the deadline to add items to Tuesday’s meeting agenda had passed, although Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak had the power to call a special meeting before the board’s next regular meeting on April 16.

Commissioner Tom Collins, whose district covers most of the area Brooks represented, said he disagreed with the county’s legal staff that a replacement couldn’t be appointed during Tuesday’s meeting. He said he would be ready to make a motion to fill the seat next week.

“The sooner we can get somebody up there and get them acclimated to the job going forward, the better off it’s going to be for the 50,000 people (in Brooks’ district),” Collins said.

This year’s legislative session is scheduled to end June 3.

Brooks’ ouster creates vacancies on several important committees that impact all of Clark County, Collins said, including the Ways and Means, Health and Human Services, and Transportation committees.

Several upcoming deadlines, including a requirement that bills be out of committees by April 12, add urgency to finding a replacement, Collins said.

Sisolak said Thursday afternoon legislative leaders hadn’t contacted him about expediting the appointment of Brooks’ replacement and that he intended to follow a process agreed upon by commissioners in February.

“We have an application process set up to take applications for people who are interested in applying,” Sisolak said. “It’s going to be open, it’s going to be transparent, and it’s going to be inclusive. You can’t do that in two days.”

The process, which was developed late last year after commissioners were asked to choose a replacement for Assemblywoman April Mastroluca created an application interested residents could fill out to be considered for the vacant seat.

Staff will screen the applications to ensure candidates are eligible before forwarding them for consideration to commissioners.

Pappa said no dates have been set for the start or end of the application process.

Brooks’ replacement must be a Democrat and live in the district he represented, which is bounded approximately by Lamb Boulevard on the east, Clayton Street on the west and Craig Road on the south and stretches north past the 215 Beltway.

Among those who have been mentioned as potential candidates to replace Brooks are Richard Cherchio, a former North Las Vegas City Council member; Clark County Public Defender Will Ewing, who lost a 2012 bid to serve as justice of the peace in North Las Vegas; Tyrone Thompson, regional initiatives coordinator at the Southern Nevada Regional Planning Coalition; and Jo Cato, a former North Las Vegas planning commissioner.

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