Commissioners hear from constables over office's fate - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Commissioners hear from constables over office's fate

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Constable John Bonaventura was flanked by colleagues as he appealed to the Clark County Board of Commissioners on Feb. 19, 2013. (Azenith Smith/FOX5) Constable John Bonaventura was flanked by colleagues as he appealed to the Clark County Board of Commissioners on Feb. 19, 2013. (Azenith Smith/FOX5)

In a showdown over the fate of the Las Vegas Constable's office, the Clark County Board of Commissioners heard Tuesday from the embattled constable and his colleagues during its meeting.

Constable John Bonaventura and others in his office were on the defensive, trying to convince commissioners from dissolving the office. The proposal comes on the heels of the recent DUI arrest of Bonaventura.

Despite the tense mood, the focus of the commission's grilling was on the state of the constable's office.

Bonaventura's colleagues said they did not approve of his arrest but asserted the action's of one shouldn't mean the end of their office.

"There are some things [like the actions of this constable] that I cannot support," said Capt. Jeff Hammack. "But I can support this office. I think it provides a very important service for the citizens of Clark County."

Another of Bonaventura's colleagues said the office is unlike other forms of authority in the area.

"These guys are professional. They do it every day and they're doing a very, very difficult job," that colleague said. "When you go with a court order to evict people out of their homes and remove them…I realize they hate the constable's office more than police officers."

Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, who has been leading the effort to streamline county government, said Tuesday the ordinance that would close the constable's office is strictly business.

"Maybe these functions are now overlapping. Maybe, these are redundant," Giunchigliani said. "Maybe we aren't doing the best business for the constituents, and maybe, in the long run, there's a better way to do business."

In addition, the commissioner said Bonaventura's actions leave him with little room to defend his office and six-figure salary.

"I think it's helped give reason and pause for my colleagues, myself and the community to say, ‘maybe we need to do business differently,'" Giunchigliani said.

The constable already claimed his critics have a personal agenda.

"If they do decide to abolish the office, they will soon find out they will have to put the office back, because it won't work. It's already been tried."

There was no mention of the constable's arrest during Tuesday's meeting, because, as Bonaventura said, no one asked him about it. Nevada Highway Patrol said it will release the constable's arrest report later this week.

A public hearing for the ordinance was set for March 19. If the commission votes to abolish the constable's office, it will take effect in two years after Bonaventura's term is up.

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