The Board of Supervisors on Thursday decided to appoint a new Ward 3 supervisor rather than hold a special election to fill the seat.
The seat will become vacant in January a day before the current Ward 3 supervisor, Lori Bagwell, assumes the office of Carson City mayor. Bagwell ran and won the mayor’s race in the primary when she garnered more than 50 percent of the vote. The appointed supervisor will serve the two years left on Bagwell’s term as supervisor.
Dan Yu, assistant district attorney and counsel to the board, outlined the board’s options for filling the vacancy.
“It is both complicated and not complicated,” said Yu. “I had to do a lot of research.”
He said there is no longer sufficient time to get names on the ballot for the general election in November. (The deadline was July 24.) Instead, a special election would have to be called, which would require a resolution from the board and coordination with the Secretary of State’s office, and has the potential of confusing voters because it would be held close to the general election.
Supervisor Stacey Giomi said there would also be significant costs associated with a special election as well as more work for the Clerk-Recorder’s office, which is already busy conducting an unusual general election due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I made the comment when I congratulated Lori that I thought it was critical we fill the seat with a special election. While my druthers would be to hold an election, I had hoped it could be rolled into the general,” said Giomi. “I think it’s best we appoint.”
Yu said there was little legal guidance on how to make an appointment, which last happened in 2003.
After some discussion, the board decided to publish an application with questions, which will be available Sept. 14 and due by Oct. 9. The board will then interview candidates and select one in a special public meeting on Nov. 4, the day after the general election.
“The only way to ensure Ward 3 has representation (without a lapse in time) is by appointing someone,” said Supervisor Brad Bonkowski. “We’ll get a qualified person because they’ll go through a rigorous process of being interviewed by us.”
Aubrey Rowlatt, clerk-recorder, gave the supervisors an update on the upcoming general election.
Both mail-in and in-person voting will be available. Registered voters will receive ballots in the mail, which they can return by mail or drop off at the Clerk-Recorder’s office during business hours or at the Community Center during polling hours or at a dropbox at Fuji Park during polling hours. The Fuji Park box will be staffed by poll workers.
Rowlatt said Fuji Park was selected to help voters in south Carson City given the amount of residential development there and the construction on South Carson Street.
She said the office has an extensive process for verifying ballot signatures and voters are contacted immediately to cure, or verify, their signature if there is a problem.
Early and election day voting will be held at the Community Center.
The board also passed on second reading an ordinance removing from municipal code the requirement that a supervisor own property in Carson City. The city charter originally required it then it was removed but city code was never updated to reflect the change.