No answer in Justice move
DAYTON — The contentious issue of whether to move a portion of Silver Springs from the Dayton Justice Court District into Fernley’s Canal Township Justice Court District remains unresolved.
Lyon County commissioners last week postponed making a decision on the request and directed staff to review of costs, staffing and workloads. A report is expected Sept. 19 .
With the recent Fernley incorporation, Canal Township Justice Robert Bennett’s court responsibilities have been divided between the city’s municipal court and the Canal justice court, reducing the Justice Court duties from four days to three. Staffing, however, has remained the same.
Dayton Township Justice of the Peace Bill Rogers, whose district extends from Silver City and Mound House to Silver Springs, said his workload has increased approximately 20 percent over the past year, with 16 to 21 percent of those cases coming from Silver Springs.
Commissioners, judges and Silver Springs residents have expressed differing views on the need for any immediate changes and remain split on the issue.
Commissioner LeRoy Goodman said the change would have no fiscal effect on the city of Fernley or Dayton and is the only logical way to go.
“It is obvious this has turned into a political hot potato for some people in the county; yet at the same time this is just good sense,” he told the board. “This is simply an attempt to reduce the workload in one area and move it to another area. In my business, that’s called good business practice. That’s what this is all about.
“If we don’t want to do it, I don’t want to hear over the next four years how overloaded the Dayton Justice Court is. Don’t even bring it up.”
In agreement with Goodman, Commissioner David Fulstone pointed out that staff from the Fernley Court is traveling to Dayton to help out because they have nothing to do.
“What we have here is not the best use of county funds or county personnel. It just make good sense and good government to redo the boundary lines once in awhile according to population,” he said. “This makes a whole lot of sense with what is happening between these two justice courts right now.”
Others said it would be best to delay any changes until just prior to the next Justice of the Peace election in four years.
Commissioner Bob Milz said it was the commissioners’ own fault for the major loss of revenue in the Fernley Justice Court by not cutting staff at the time justice court days were reduced.
“They need to get their act together financially over there, and to add an extra burden to that, until they settle that problem, it makes no sense whatsoever (to change boundaries),” he said.
His motion to take no immediate action failed 2-3, with Milz and Phyllis Hunnewill in favor.
In a letter to the board, Rogers indicated he had adequate staff to handle his workload and recommended a delay in making any boundary changes, noting it would be better addressed just prior to the next election.
Justice Robert Bennett wrote that he would be willing to accept the additional caseload without adding to his three-day work week, but he took no position on redrawing boundary lines.