Efforts are under way to recall North Las Vegas' first female mayor.
A group of residents launched a campaign in late August to rescind Shari Buck's mayoral title, citing the city's dire financial status as its main motivator.
They've outlined their reasons at www.recallbuck.com.
The group, which filed a petition Sept. 6 with the Clark County Election Department, will have 90 days to collect 2,448 signatures -- or 25 percent -- of the 9,863 people who voted in the 2009 election. In that race, Buck garnered about 55 percent of the vote. At the end of the 90 days, the petition must be sent to the city clerk. If enough signatures are collected and validated, that would generate a recall election. It is unclear if a candidate would be on the ballot to run against Buck.
North Las Vegas resident Bob Borgersen is helping to organize the effort and said the recall will face challenges because many people have moved out of the city in those two years.
"This probably isn't going to solve anything because of the position the city of North Las Vegas is in at the present time," Borgersen said. "This may stop more things from happening."
Borgersen listed Buck's unwavering financial support for the city's police and fire unions, her vote to close the two city-run recreation centers, her daughter's 2005 police department internship and renovations to her office despite the move to the new City Hall, 2250 Las Vegas Blvd. North, slated for December, among other reasons, for the recall.
Buck said the city had to honor its commitment to the state to balance the budget, which is why she and other council members voted to lay off 21 employees and close the two city-run rec centers. The city has since reached a concession agreement with the police officers union to keep the rec centers open.
"I understand the economy's bad and that we don't have sales tax coming in ... I'm not blaming everything on the mayor," Borgersen said. "But the Gregory Rose contract from a few years ago was a golden parachute."
Rose, a former city manager, left the city in December 2009 with a $337,040 severance package. City officials kept mum about the reasons for his departure. The council voted 4-1 to accept his resignation. Buck was the lone vote against the plan. Other council members at the time blamed those who had voted to amend Rose's contract to his benefit in the past for the price tag attached to his departure, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Then-Mayor Mike Montandon and then-council members Buck and Stephanie Smith voted for the extension. Montandon and Smith have since left office.
"I don't agree with (the recall)," Buck said. "I'm doing my best to balance the budget and keep providing services to the city. I think at this time when things are so difficult, it's far better for people to be trying to build others up rather than tearing people down."
This isn't the first time Borgersen has been involved in recalling a City Council member. In 1998, he participated in a grass-roots effort to recall then-Councilwoman Paula Brown, whose husband -- a former informant for the federal Drug Enforcement Agency -- owned chemical stores that sold substances later found in methamphetamine labs throughout the Las Vegas Valley. The recall efforts failed, but Brown lost an election the following year.
Borgersen said he attributes that loss to the recall efforts.
The group also is critical of a police department internship where then-Councilwoman Buck's daughter was hired for $12 an hour in 2005. At that time, Buck stressed she had checked with the city manager's office to see if there were any rules prohibiting her daughter from working as a summer intern and asked other council members.
City officials said there was nothing improper about the hiring, and no council members had a problem with it. There are no rules prohibiting a council member's relative from interning with the city. The internship included working with the department's crime scene team, its victims assistance program and its community services division.
The group of residents organizing the recall efforts argue that the mayor "wasted tax dollars on lavish renovations to her personal office."
The city broke ground on the new City Hall in June 2009. More than a month later, Buck spent $3,062 renovating her office during her mayoral transition, which included molding, paint and electrical wire improvements. The office had not been painted for 11 years. Labor costs totaled $600, but the money was already part of the city employees' pay, according to Juliet Casey, city spokeswoman. Buck said she paid for her own drapes.
Buck added that although she disagrees with the recall effort, people have a right to protest.
"I don't understand why they're saying they'll recall me because I was balancing the budget," she said. "I love the city. I love our citizens. I appreciate all of the support."
Contact Downtown and North Las Vegas View reporter Kristi Jourdan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 383-0492.