Incline Village Constable office abolished, opposed by community
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. – The Incline Village Justice Court lost its constable on Tuesday, Feb. 8 after the Washoe County Board of Commissioners voted to abolish the office in a vote of 3-2.
The decision comes after fierce objection from Judge Allan Tiras of Incline Village, the serving constable Hans Keller, and a large portion of the community. It was noted by District 5 Commissioner Jeanne Herman that she would not be voting for the ordinance after receiving only one positive comment from the public about the abolishment, with the rest of the comments being against.
Vice-Chair and District 1 Commissioner Alexis Hill was also against the abolishment, commenting that she felt there wasn’t enough transparency with the community about the course of actions.
“There’s a lot of misinformation out there in the Incline Village/Crystal Bay community,” said Commissioner Hill. “[There are] concerns that they feel like they’re going to lose service, and sadly, I haven’t had the opportunity to really articulate this plan to the community and I would like to see more details prior to this adoption. Additionally, I still don’t see a transparency with the budget, so I’m not prepared to vote for this today and approve this.”
The concerns were shared by Judge Tiras, who explained that his input, along with Constable Keller’s, has not been received by the Board beyond public comment, which limits him to just three minutes of speaking time.
Judge Tiras said that the financial analysis for the transfer of responsibilities is not accurate and requires more work before the office should be abolished. Judge Tiras is worried that many of the responsibilities of the constable will not be fulfilled.
“The people who are going to be performing these duties aren’t going to nbe as committed to the job as our constable,” said Judge Tiras. “He’s an elected official and he has being doing this for a long time. He wants to run for office again, which means he would be committed to another four years of service to the community… If we lose the constable, we’re going to be losing the person who is basically a teammate [to the court] who understands what he needs to do and how it needs to be done before I even have to tell him.”
Board Chair and District 4 Commissioner Vaughn Hartung brought Washoe County Sheriff Office Captain Corey Solferino to answer his questions about the subject before moving to vote. Commissioner Hartung asked if Solferino felt the Sheriff’s Office would ever not be able to staff the position that would fill the constable’s, and Solferino was confident his team would be able to carry the workload.
The abolishment has been heavily opposed by those in the Incline Village/Crystal Bay area, but there was little to no correspondence with the public prior to the addition of the item to the Board agenda on Dec. 14, 2021.
Additionally, both Tiras and Keller were unaware of the addition of the item to the agenda last year until the actual meeting, even though all items should be talked about previously at the draft agenda meeting, according to Tiras.
It’s believed that this is the first step by the county to eventually eliminate the court system in Incline Village.
“We do understand that that is something that they are talking about,” said Judge Tiras, “and not including us in the conversation… But we don’t know if that’s the problem. We can’t get them to talk to us.”
With enough votes to pass the ordinance, the office is now set to be abolished at the end of the current term which is Jan. 2, 2023. Until then, Judge Tiras and Constable Keller will continue seeking communication with the Board and transparency with the public.
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