Effort to recall North Las Vegas mayor stalls


Organizers of an effort to oust North Las Vegas' mayor have less than a week to finish gathering signatures on a recall petition.

But one of the effort's leaders said they have nowhere near the number of signatures required to recall Mayor Shari Buck.

Bob Borgersen, a North Las Vegas activist, said the recall effort started strong in September but has lost steam.

"I hate to say it, but I think it's just a lack of people willing to get out and do anything," Borgersen said Monday.

Though all the signatures have yet to be compiled, Borgersen estimated the total to be "in the hundreds. Not even in the high hundreds."

The group has until Monday to collect the signatures of 2,466 voters who cast ballots in Buck's 2009 race.

Borgersen acknowledged at the launch of the recall effort that it would be difficult to gather so many signatures because the election was so long ago and some of those voters have since moved away.

Still, he believes the effort sent a message and may hamper the mayor politically in the future.

"This has got to hurt her a little bit," he said.

Buck said she has not thought much about the recall effort, which she called "ridiculous" in September.

"I just really haven't worried about it," the mayor said Monday. "I've just been concentrating on working hard for the citizens and taking care of the city the best way I can."

Borgersen and others said they decided to pursue a recall in part because they were angry about Buck's support of police and fire unions at the expense of other city services.

In a late August news release about the recall effort, James Olive, vice chairman of the city's Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, said Buck had "demonstrated an inability to effectively lead and protect the citizens" of North Las Vegas.

"In reality, Mayor Buck has shown extraordinary leadership skills protecting the police and fire unions while she destroys the rest of the city," Olive said.

The mayor was one of three City Council members who voted in August in favor of closing two recreation centers to help bridge a shortfall in the city's fiscal 2012 budget. The centers remained open after the city reached last-minute contract concession agreements with its police unions.

Last week, Olive said he wasn't "personally going after" the mayor.

"I was trying to draw attention to the fact that those rec centers were getting closed," he said.

Buck said the recall effort was politically motivated by those unhappy with her support of dentist Wade Wagner over incumbent Councilman Richard Cherchio in June's Ward 4 election.

The election was particularly ugly. Public safety unions in the city went door to door and distributed ads against Cherchio that said he didn't support the city's police and firefighters. The mayor and other council members publicly supported their favorite candidate.

Wagner went on to win the election by a single vote. Cherchio challenged the results in court, and the case has yet to be resolved.

Buck also is facing an ethics complaint alleging she acted unlawfully on issues related to the race. The complaint, filed by a North Las Vegas resident who also is involved in the recall effort, alleges Buck violated conflict-of-interest laws in June by offering an opinion on whether to canvass or hold a new election for the Ward 4 seat during a City Council meeting. Buck then abstained from voting on the matter.

Buck tried to "influence the outcome of or advocate for the passage or failure of a matter on which she intended to abstain," the complaint said.

The mayor denies doing anything ethically wrong and said the complaint also is politically motivated.

The Ethics Commission is set to hear the matter Dec. 14.

Contact reporter Lynnette Curtis at lcurtis@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0285.

 

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