Mayor of Henderson under investigation, willing to undergo ethic - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

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Mayor of Henderson under investigation, willing to undergo ethics training

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Henderson Mayor Debra March was investigated for a possible ethics violation. Henderson Mayor Debra March was investigated for a possible ethics violation.
HENDERSON, NV (FOX5) -

The mayor of Henderson is under investigation amid complaints that she gave tax dollars and preferential treatment to her own charity.

The Nevada Commission on Ethics has been investigating Mayor Debra March since Sept. She was not accused of a crime like embezzlement or bribery, but the commission did find enough "sufficient credible evidence" to warrant something more serious than just a warning.

March was in Washington D.C. when FOX5 reached out for comment. She sent an email addressing the case.

"I will now be working with the Commission on an agreement to receive additional ethics training," March wrote. "I respect the recommendation of the Commission and it’s my hope that this will help bring further clarity to this section of the ethics code for other elected officials."

The person who filed the complaint argued that Mayor Debra March and Councilwoman Gerri Schroder failed to disclose that they were members of the Henderson Community Foundation. Both were accused of donating thousands of dollars to the non-profit, which represents about 25 charities across town. Then they voted on agenda items that granted the foundation public funds.

The commission decided Schroder did nothing wrong, but did not make the same ruling in the case against March.

"I certainly wouldn't use the word 'guilty,'" said Yvonne Nevarez-Goodson, the executive director of the Nevada Commission on Ethics. "I think that the fact the commission investigated this case assures the public that we take its complaints and its concerns very seriously."

Nevarez-Goodson indicated that the commission is willing to enter into a "deferral agreement" with March, which is essentially a negotiated settlement, because the case is not considered "egregious."

The deferral agreement would be public, but would not include an admission of guilt. If an agreement is not reached, the matter would go to a public hearing. 

"It's not certainly as egregious as it might be if a public officer were voting to approve funds to his or her own pocketbook," Nevarez-Goodson said. "There still is an opportunity here for education."

James Green, the vice president of the Henderson Community Foundation, said March was indeed a member of the board. He also said he cannot remember her attending an HCF meeting since 2011.

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