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September 1, 2014

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Politics:

State officials asked to remove Henderson mayor over term limits

Image

Steve Marcus

Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen delivers the State of the City address at Green Valley Ranch Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014.

Updated Friday, April 25, 2014 | 4:46 p.m.

A failed mayoral candidate trying to oust Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen over term limits wants state officials to intervene and remove him from office, a lawyer said Friday.

In a statement, attorney Stephanie Rice, who represents Rick Workman, said she has asked the governor, attorney general and secretary of state to bring removal action against Hafen.

"We have not given up our mission to enforce term limits," Rice said. "The fact that Mayor Hafen will, at the end of his current term, have served literally three decades on the Henderson City Council, more than 20 of them after the 1996 term limits amendment was passed, is an urgent matter of public concern."

Hafen was first elected to the Henderson City Council in 1987. He was elected mayor in 2009 and re-elected last year.

He has refused to leave office and said he would defend his standing if a lawsuit was filed.

Workman argues that Hafen is ineligible to hold the job in light of a Nevada Supreme Cour opinion in a Reno case that derailed the mayoral bids of at least two termed-out Reno council veterans, Jessica Sferrazza and Dwight Dortch.

Justices in February ruled that city council members who have served the maximum 12 years in office cannot run for mayor and serve on the same governing body.

Reno and Henderson have similar city charters, whereby the mayor is a voting member of the city council.

After that ruling, Workman's lawyer sent Hafen a letter urging him to resign.

In March, the city issued a statement saying the Supreme Court ruling dealt with the eligibility of potential candidates, not those already elected prior to the court's decision.

Officials said changing Hafen's status was a matter for the courts.

"It must be done through the legal system as prescribed by state law," the city said.

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