Justice vacancy closes out with 35 applications | RecordCourier.com
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Justice vacancy closes out with 35 applications

by Sheila Gardner
sgardner@recordcourier.com

By 5 p.m. Friday, 35 people from all walks of life had applied for appointment to East Fork Township justice of the peace.

The next step in the process is for Clerk-Treasurer Ted Thran to verify that all applicants meet the minimal requirements for the $103,417-a-year job.

Their applications will be distributed to Douglas County commissioners who are expected to make a decision Sept. 2.

The vacancy was created by the Aug. 6 resignation of Judge Jim EnEarl, who held the position for 15 years. 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.

Seven people submitted applications on Thursday and Friday, the last application arriving at the county’s human resources department about 4:50 p.m. Friday.

They included:

• Jim Slade, 62, Gardnerville, international guide;

• Gail L. Allen, Minden, self-employed accounting and computer consultant;

• Pamela B. Sturlin, 63, Gardnerville, legal office manager;

• Ronald F. Cauley, 56, Gardnerville, attorney;

• Steven Lane, 48, Minden, business executive;

• Doreen Nelson, Minden, project manager;

• David J. Luce, 47, Gardnerville, correctional officer.

Slade, a Gardnerville resident since 1999, said his career in the travel industry required organization, attention to detail, timeliness and responsibility, “traits that would be crucial for a justice of the peace as well.”

“I believe the most important qualities that a justice can possess are to have an analytical mind, to be a critical thinker, and have a basic sense of fairness. I feel that I have all these qualities,” Slade said.

He said although the position did not require a law degree, it was important that the applicant demonstrate an aptitude for understanding law.

Slade said he had been admitted twice to Columbia University, but chose not to attend, and scored in the 99th percentile in the Law School Admission Test.

Allen, a 20-year Carson Valley resident, also works part-time at Dangberg Historic Home Ranch as an aide and technician.

“Many times it seems easier to continue an established pattern of filling vacancies with people of similar background or training, rather than to consider someone who is reflective of the general citizenry served by an agency,” Allen said in her application.

She said past justices have been from legal and law enforcement agencies although not required by Nevada Revised Statute.

“I believe this is a clear directive from the Legislature of Nevada. All citizens who meet the criteria should be considered,” Allen said.

Sturlin said she had nearly three decades in the legal field in Carson City and Las Vegas. She is the legal office manager in the Nevada Public Defender’s Office in Carson City.

“With over 27 years in the legal field, both in Las Vegas and Carson City, I feel I meet the qualifications of the position,” Sturlin said.

Cauley said in his 30 years of practicing law before East Fork Justice Court, he has appeared before lay judges, “some of whom have been effective.”

He said the jurisdiction is at a crossroads.

“The East Fork Justice Court is in need of a trained legal mind – someone who has served as an advocate in the fray of the adversarial process over time; someone who is battle-tested and ready to jump right in and make quality decisions; someone who is able to lift the court to a higher level; someone who can make just rulings, effectively manage the court and appropriately interface with the district court; additionally someone who is temperate but firm, compassionate yet decisive and authoritative,” Cauley said.

He said he felt qualified for the position through 30 years of private practice in local criminal and civil law with appearances all the way through the court system to the Nevada Supreme Court.

He also worked in the Washoe Tribal Court as prosecutor, defender, juvenile court judge and chief judge.

Nelson has been a Douglas County resident for 15 years.

“The role of justice of the peace is defined as a person that keeps the peace, through a fair application of local laws. I would not be appointed to pass judgment or espouse intense legal opinions,” Nelson said. “I have no legal education nor do I have aspirations of meting out punishments to impress the public. From my point of view, I am applying to be a public servant. I want to serve our community, and serve it well.”

Lane, a business executive, said he he studied law in earning his degree in business administration.

“I understand that judicial action is a combination of both common sense and the letter of the law,” he said. “Especially in contract law, the terms of the agreement are important but also subject to what the law allows in the contract, which is essentially a form of consumer protection that protects of interests of all parties.”

Lane, a six-year Minden resident, said he would look to past judges and justices as mentors to implement a seamless transition.

Luce said his work with inmates reinforced his practice of firm but fair treatment.

“I try to do my best in disciplining these men without being condescending and demeaning,” he said.

“Some people make mistakes, while others may lack remorse and integrity. Making a mistake does not make a bad person, having no remorse and little integrity does. Accountability is necessary if we are all to live together harmoniously,” he said.

Commission Chairman Mike Olson said Friday that commissioners were willing to meet separately with any applicants who contacted them. He’d met Friday or received telephone calls from several applicants as had other board members.

“On Sept. 2, each applicant gets three minutes to introduce themselves, then I believe the board is going to be prepared to make a decision,” Olson said.

Olson said he expected more applications.

“With unemployment what it is, I was thinking we’d be getting about 50 applications,” Olson said. “The hard part right now is just going through them. The qualifications for that position are so minimal, but you want the best applicant. Honestly, it’s going to be an interesting process. I’ve never appointed a judge before.”

Olson said he felt the applicants deserved an opportunity to address the board if they wished.

“We want to make it a fair process,” he said. “These people are putting their necks out and we need to give them an opportunity to fight for it. We’re willing to put the time in.”

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, Zephyr Cove

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

Ursula McManus, 60, Gardnerville, district court judicial assistant

Justin M. Clouser, 60, Minden, attorney

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

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

Jim Slade, 62, Gardnerville, international guide

Gail L. Allen, Minden, self-employed accounting and computer consultant;

Pamela B. Sturlin, 63, Gardnerville, legal office manager;

Ronald F. Cauley, 56, Gardnerville, attorney

Steven Lane, 48, Minden, business executive

Doreen Nelson, Minden, project manager

David J. Luce, 47, Gardnerville, correctional officer