City unclear on appointment term

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The Mesquite City Council at their May 6 Technical Review Meeting discussed the procedures for nominating and appointing a replacement for Mayor Mark Wier, who resigned his position on April 22.

Deputy City Attorney Bob Sweetin told the council that Nevada law requires the council to fill a vacancy for mayor at the “First regular council meeting after such vacancy.”

If a member of the council is appointed mayor, Sweetin said “The council has the option for a special election or an appointment to fill the council position would be the other option.”

In public comment, Mesquite resident Dave West, who served on an advisory committee during the last election cycle, said “One of the reasons for supporting moving city elections from special elections to the general election cycle was to reduce costs.”

“I don’t believe the council should go that route (special election) even though there are some people who will want a special election.”  The cost for a special election is estimated by the city to be about $40,000.  West noted that in a survey of residents before the last election a majority of residents preferred moving city elections to general election dates by a majority of 10 percent.

In a staff report city manager Andy Barton recommended that a current council member be nominated and appointed to fill the unexpired term of the mayor until November 2016 which is the date of the next general election.  Barton also recommended that the council appoint to fill the resulting council vacancy.

In discussion there was agreement that if a council member was named mayor, the term of office would be until the next general election which is also the end of Wier’s term of office.  There was not clear understanding on how long the term would be for a council replacement.

Sweetin told the council that a legal opinion would need to be issued to determine whether the person named or elected councilor serves until the next general election or if the position fills out the term of the person appointed mayor.  “I believe the person would serve until November 2016, but we need to get an opinion on that,” said Sweetin.

The council was also told by Sweetin that they could “not wait until November to elect a council person, a special election would have to be held.”

On May 13 the council will vote on a new mayor.  If they decide to appoint a replacement for the council, a process will be adopted for advertising the position and discussing candidates in a public meeting.

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