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East Fork justice appointment draws more applicants

by Sheila Gardner
sgardner@recordcourier.com

As Friday’s 5 p.m. deadline closes in for candidates for East Fork Justice of the Peace, Douglas County commissioners could have more than 30 applications to sift through in filling the vacancy.

Four new applications were submitted Wednesday and Thursday with more anticipated Friday.

This week’s candidates included:

n Ursula McManus, 60, Gardnerville, district court judicial assistant;

n Justin M. Clouser, 60, Minden, lawyer;

n Steve Thaler, 52, Minden, director, Douglas County Juvenile Camp Services;

n Rory Planeta, 59, Minden, chief, Carson City Department of Alternative Sentencing.

The vacancy was created by the Aug. 6 resignation of Judge Jim EnEarl. Commissioners are to appoint a replacement to serve out the remainder of EnEarl’s term which is up in December 2012.

If interested in keeping the $103,417-a-year job, the successful applicant will face re-election.

Senior Judge Steven McMorris is presiding over the court until a replacement is selected.

McManus ran against EnEarl in 1994.

She cited her 24 years as a judicial assistant in Douglas County district courts and said she continued to build her portfolio so if an opportunity for the position came up, she would be prepared.

“With my legal background, I will be able to step into this position without compromise of integrity,” McManus said in her application. “I am familiar with the applicable law and work closely with Nevada Revised Statutes. Daily, I work closely with our courts, many public officials including other judges, law enforcement officers and even accused criminals.

“This exhilarating, yet demanding work, requires me to incorporate a wide variety of word processing and legal skills and procedures,” she said.

Clouser has 32 years experience as an attorney, including 11 years representing the disadvantaged and the elderly. He opened his Minden practice in 2007 and has practiced in Nevada since 1986.

Clouser said he felt it was time to change the township’s “laudable tradition” of having a nonattorney serve as justice of the peace.

“The court is not just a criminal court, but also a court of limited jurisdiction. It is a forum for small claims court where parties bring their disputes that have a value of under $5,000,” Clouser said.

He said the court hears civil cases with jurisdictional amounts between $5,000-$10,000, and the judge needs to have a “firm understanding of contract law, evidence and the determination of damages.”

Thaler has been a county employee for nearly 30 years including 15 years at China Spring, 10 years as a sheriff’s deputy and five years as an investigator in the district attorney’s office.

He also was appointed to the Minden Town Board in 2009.

“Management of 38 full-time employees and a multimillion-dollar budget have given me unique insight into the complicated administrative responsibilities which will face the next justice court judge,” Thaler said.

“In addition, with my recent appointment to the Minden Town Board, my direct interaction with the state Legislature over the past 15 years, I feel I am knowledgeable of the intricate political workings of state and local government,” Thaler said.

Planeta, a 31-year resident, worked for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office for 24 years before taking the Carson City position in 2006.

“In my career I have participated in hundreds of court appearances and understand courtroom procedures and protocol. I have observed and been involved with numerous hearings such as arraignments, bench trials, jury trials, small claims actions, protection orders and preliminary hearings.

“I have authored hundreds of search and seizure warrants and fully understand probable cause standards,” Planeta said.

County commissioners are set to select the new judge at their Sept. 2 meeting.

ON THE WEB

Douglas County Human Resources

http://www.douglascountyhr.com

WHO’S APPLIED

Mary James, 53, Gardnerville, legal assistant

Kip R. Steele, 59, Gardnerville, investigator, Nevada Real Estate Division

Therese M. Abraham-Noble, 53, Minden, bakery owner, photographer and video producer

Wayne A. Fazzino, 57, Minden, special investigator, Nevada Attorney General’s office

Rev. Dr. Jane Foraker-Thompson, 72, Gardnerville, retired Nevada prison chaplain

Thomas E. Perkins, 59, Minden, attorney

Mark Owens, 51, Gardnerville Ranchos, auto-cad draftsman and survey instrument operator

Laura Valentine, 48, Gardnerville Ranchos, business owner, clinical program planner, rural clinics and services, Division of Mental Health and Developmental Services

Erik A. Levin, 51, Minden, Douglas County deputy district attorney

Travis Funk, 40, Minden, contractor

Kelly Chase, 58, Minden, attorney

Brian C. Mehrer, Gardnerville Ranchos, physical education instructor

John Louritt, 64, Gardnerville, casino surveillance department manager, former police detective

Michael Lenzi, 51, Gardnerville, retired correctional officer

Travis J. Phillips, 30, Minden, civil engineer

Tami J. DiSalvo, 45, Gardnerville, supervising deputy probation officer, El Dorado County

Peter D. Quenzer, 70, Genoa, retired property manager, volunteer court bailiff

Nancy L. Downey, 58, Genoa, sociologist, marketing consultant

Robert Priscaro, 52, Gardnerville, El Dorado County deputy district attorney

Jennifer Yturbide, 50, Minden, attorney

Jesse W. McKone, 41, deputy sheriff

Anthony Spotts, 30, Gardnerville, administrative secretary

Edward Jurzenski, 59, Zephyr Cove

Mary E. Hobbs, 44, Indian Hills, legal assistant

Ursula McManus, 60, Gardnerville, district court judicial assistant

Justin M. Clouser, 60, Minden, lawyer

Steve Thaler, 52, Minden, director, Douglas County Juvenile Camp Services

Rory Planeta, 59, Minden, chief, Carson City Department of Alternative Sentencing.