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Michele Fiore’s appointment to Nye bench legitimate, county says

Nye County said Friday evening that the appointment of Michele Fiore to the Pahrump Justice Court bench was legitimate.

The county’s announcement came a week after a candidate who had been passed over in favor of Fiore last month, filed a complaint with the county and Attorney General Aaron Ford’s office.

Nevada Republican William Hockstedler noted that Fiore had been a Nye County resident for under 30 days before the December filing deadline for the position, as state law requires for those seeking elected office.

Another requirement is being registered to vote in the jurisdiction.

Under Fiore’s self-admitted moving timeline, she would have fallen short of the residency requirement, but would have been eligible to vote in Nye County.

County officials said the first requirement didn’t apply to Fiore because she was appointed, not elected.

“It is important to note that the appointment to a vacant position is not an ‘election,’” the county wrote in a news release.

“The arguments being published suggest an applicant for appointment must be a resident for 30 days prior to the closing date for the submission of an application,” the release stated. “There is no legal authority that supports this conclusion. The only requirement is that the appointee must be eligible to vote when he or she is appointed to a township office.”

The attorney general’s office last week said that it had received Hockstedler’s complaint but didn’t comment beyond that.

In a separate complaint, Las Vegas residents formerly represented by Fiore alleged to city officials that the former councilwoman’s final votes were illegitimate, because she forfeited her Las Vegas residency when she moved to Nye County.

When she was appointed as a Pahrump judge on Dec. 20, Fiore told commissioners that she rented a home in the rural town on Nov. 15, a day before her final City Council meeting.

Her lawyer — failed attorney general candidate Sigal Chattah — responded with a letter sent to City Attorney Bryan Scott.

She wrote that Fiore wrote a check to hold the rental on that date but didn’t sleep there until Nov. 17.

City officials haven’t commented beyond publicly releasing the letter.

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @rickytwrites.

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