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Attorney general clarifies district attorney replacement process

There’s a little breathing room for the County Commission to appoint a replacement for District Attorney David Roger.

An attorney general’s office opinion dated Nov. 18 clarifies that the commission must appoint the replacement for the balance of the unexpired term for Roger, who is leaving the position Jan. 3. That term ends Jan. 5, 2015.

County management is in the process of forming a screening committee at the request of the commission to narrow down applicants for the county’s top prosecutor. All committee members will be attorneys, according to county management. There is a Dec. 9 deadline for district attorney applications.

Under the law, the commission must appoint an interim or a replacement at its first meeting after Roger’s official resignation. If the appointment is made on an interim basis, the commission has 60 days to appoint a more permanent district attorney.

In the letter to County Counsel Mary-Anne Miller, Deputy Attorney General Kevin Benson points to a state law that calls for a replacement appointed by the commission and "provides that the person appointed to replace the district attorney serves the remainder of the unexpired term."

Miller sent the request on behalf of the commission on Nov. 9.

Benson also wrote that the commission cannot appoint a replacement to serve only until a successor is elected at the next biennial election.

"Nothing in NRS 252.060 or the election laws provides for an election for that office in 2012," Benson wrote. "Interested parties cannot alter the election laws by agreement."

Roger, who celebrated 25 years as a county employee Oct. 8, will give up a base salary of more than $202,000 to enter the private sector. Chris Collins, executive director for the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, has publicly said he wants to hire Roger but must get approval from his board of directors.

Roger’s retirement comes three years shy of completing his third term, his last under state term-limits laws.

Contact reporter Kristi Jourdan at kjourdan@reviewjournal.com or 702-455-4519.

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