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No replacement for Brooks in Assembly for at least 2 weeks

Updated Tuesday, April 2, 2013 | 3:47 p.m.

It will be at least two weeks before a replacement for ousted Assemblyman Steven Brooks is chosen, after Clark County commissioners declined to make an appointment at their Tuesday meeting.

The county will accept applications to fill Brooks’ vacant seat through Tuesday, April 9. Once all the applications have been screened to ensure eligibility, commissioners will discuss the appointment and could take action at their April 16 meeting.

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.

With the legislative session nearing its midway point, Commissioner Tom Collins had pushed to make the appointment as soon as possible.

Collins, whose district overlaps with most of the area Brooks represented, said interested candidates had been contacting him for the past several weeks.

“Because it’s happening during the legislative session, I think there should be a short time frame of a few days for these applications to be turned in,” Collins said.

Commissioner Lawrence Weekly, who also represents some of the same area as Brooks, accused Collins of having already chosen his preferred replacement.

“I understand you already have someone selected,” Weekly said. “That’s very concerning to me if that’s the case.”

Collins said he had not made up his mind on a replacement.

Other commissioners agreed a decision needed to be made quickly but wanted to give the process time to run its course.

Commissioner Steve Sisolak said after the applications had been collected, they’d be forwarded to the Assembly Democratic Caucus for feedback. But, he emphasized, the ultimate decision on Brooks’ replacement rests with the commission.

One major issue still to be resolved is compensation for whoever is appointed to the seat.

Legislative Counsel Bureau director Rick Combs said Brooks had spent half of the $10,000 allotted to Southern Nevada legislators for travel and housing in Carson City.

"We are still in the process of determining what the options are for both compensation and allowances for the person who is appointed to fill the vacancy,” Combs said. “As with most of this situation, it is not an issue we have had to deal with previously and we want to make sure we are complying with the law.”

In addition to the travel allowance, lawmakers are paid a per diem of $146.29 and a salary of $8,777 for the first 60 days of the 120-day legislative session.

Before voting on a replacement, commissioners will have the chance to individually interview candidates. There’s also a chance the commission will conduct a public question-and-answer session with applicants during its April 16 meeting.

Commissioner Mary Beth Scow said it’s important to keep in mind the constituents of Brooks’ North Las Vegas when making the appointment.

“I think we especially want to make sure we tailor this to the people they’ll be representing in that Assembly district,” she said.

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