EDITORIAL: North Las Vegas constable lawsuit is all about the money

If you’re curious why Robert Eliason continues to flout state law and cling to his position as North Las Vegas constable, just follow the money.

Mr. Eliason was elected in 2014. Nevada statutes require that urban constables — who serve eviction notices and other legal documents — become certified by the Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission or forfeit the office. Two years after his election, Mr. Eliason had yet to complete the requisite testing, apparently because he couldn’t get by the physical exam.

Mr. Eliason’s first gambit was to activate the good-old-boy network to try to convince state lawmakers last year to change the law retroactively. When that didn’t work, Clark County commissioners last July considered declaring the office vacant and naming a replacement, as state law allows. Mr. Eliason then responded with a lawsuit.

The Review-Journal’s Michael Scott Davidson reported last week that Mr. Eliason stands to gain — and gain big — if he can remain in office. That’s because Nevada’s generous public pension system bases retirement payouts on a government worker’s highest 36 consecutive months of salary.

Had Mr. Eliason not been elected constable, Mr. Davidson notes, his previous service as a North Las Vegas city councilman would have made him eligible for a monthly pension of about $1,130 were he to retire at age 60. But after three years on the job as constable — which pays $103,000 annually — that figure has ballooned to $3,450. Every month. For life.

If Mr. Eliason wins his lawsuit, there’s little that can be done. But if his desperate legal effort fails, justice requires that his pension be recalculated to ensure he isn’t credited for the time he illegally served as constable — which has been about 18 months at this point. And if it takes another lawsuit to protect the taxpayers in this regard, so be it.

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