Progressive Pro County Charter gangs are making the rounds trying to tell people that everyone wants this backwards Charter. What they don’t want you to know is that there were and are voices of opposition. What follows is a minority report regarding the Charter that was penned by 3 of the Freeholders that voted against the final document. The reader should carefully consider the arguments made to withhold support of this radical change in county governance.
Clark County Charter – May 27, 2014
It has been an honor to serve on the Clark County Board of Freeholders. It has been a pleasure to work with a diverse group of qualified individuals who have been able to put aside political differences and work together in a respectful way. We hope this example of cooperation and goodwill will inspire all those who serve in leadership capacities and provide a renewed sense of respectfulness as citizens interact with their elected representatives.
Specifically, we commend Freeholder Chair Hendrickson for her leadership and tireless efforts in order to conduct our charter work in a timely manner. Though we appreciate the manner in which this process was conducted, and agree the final product is a result of consensus and compromise, we cannot support the charter in its final version. Simply, there are too many aspects of the Charter that conflict with why we ran for our freeholder positions; to defend ideals of limited government.
We disagree with elements of the charter, and find the following areas the most troubling:
1. We are concerned the so-called “separation of power” between the legislative branch (Councilmen) and the executive branch headed by the County Executive will not provide an adequate level of accountability to the voters. Our current form of government already possesses a separation of administrative authority through separately elected executive offices such as; Prosecuting Attorney, Sheriff, Auditor, Clerk, Treasurer, and Assessor, which comprises a significant portion, if not most, of the County’s administrative functions.
• Separating the remaining county administration under an appointed executive is superfluous and would create a disconnect between the citizens and their government by insulating much of the executive branch from the duly elected representatives.
• The County Executive would have complete authority to appoint all non-elected department managers without confirmation of the elected councilmen. Furthermore, these department heads would in turn staff their agencies without any oversight from our elected officials.
• The Charter also assumes that the Councilmen’s position is part-time, which further diminishes the role of the elected representatives of the citizens, and shifts the balance of power to the appointed County Executive and remaining county bureaucracy.
2. Over time, the Charter will increase the cost of county government and place this financial burden on taxpayers. At a time when we should be reducing the size of government, part-time county councilmen will, in time, vote to increase support staff with new salaries, and generous tax-payer funded benefits including retirement, health and dental insurance, vacation and sick leave.
For these reasons and others, we regretfully must vote “no” on the 2014 Clark County charter.
Freeholder Freeholder Freeholder
Tracy Wilson Liz Pike Peter Silliman