Nevada Ethics Commission to move forward on complaint

One allegation of unlawful conduct regarding a North Las Vegas leader is scheduled for review by the Nevada Ethics Commission, while two other complaints to the panel have been dropped.

A hearing is scheduled for Dec. 14 to address allegations regarding North Las Vegas Mayor Shari Buck’s actions in two June City Council meetings. The man who submitted the complaint, Scott Sauer, alleges that Buck violated conflict-of-interest laws when she made comments regarding a contested Ward 4 city council seat.

Buck abstained from voting on June 15 and June 30 on whether to certify the results of the election between council candidate Wade Wagner, who won by one vote, and incumbent Richard Cherchio. Buck said she had donated to Wagner’s campaign and that her husband had worked for the campaign.

The complaint, which was filed in August, takes issue with comments Buck made before recusing herself from the vote.

Before she abstained , she said, “OK, then I want to take this opportunity just to express my opinion before I abstain and leave the room. I have grave concerns that the direction this council has chosen to go in is not only wrong but illegal. The city attorney, Matt Griffin, previously gave us a recommendation to canvass the vote, but the council has chosen to disregard that opinion. I’m very concerned about this prospect and what’s going on.”

Sauer frequents city council meetings and was also part of a charge to recall Buck.

“Although I don’t necessary like having to do this, I think it’s a responsibility of our citizens to question if our elected officials are acting within the bounds of law,” Sauer said.

The commission found the complaint to have merit, and a hearing was scheduled.

Commission Executive Director Caren Jenkins said Buck has been cooperative with proceedings.

Buck said she consulted two lawyers, a personal and city-hired attorney, before abstaining from the vote.

“I’m glad they’re moving forward with a hearing, because we will able to present our evidence,” she said.

The city provided meeting minutes and recordings to the commission, Buck added .

Buck said Sauer’s actions were “very obviously politically motivated.”

“They’ve been threatening for months to find something to file a charge,” she said. “I don’t think they’re interested in anything other than to hurt me politically.”

She feels confident in her case, she said.

“I believe everything will be cleared up,” she said.

The Ethics Commission has received 114 requests for opinions in the past year, with 34 of those considered at hearings, Jenkins said.

In July, joint complaints were filed against council members Robert Eliason and Anita Wood.

North Las Vegas resident Leonard Cardinale is listed as the requestor on the complaint.

The complaint alleged Wood and Eliason participated in a vote June 30 about the Ward 4 City Council seat after disclosing they had separately contributed to the campaign of a candidate.

The commission dismissed the cases.

For more information or to review a complaint, visit ethics.nv.gov.

Contact Centennial and North Las Vegas View reporter Maggie Lillis at mlillis@viewnews.com or 477-3839.

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