INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Marsha Berkbigler, whose Washoe County Commission District 1 seat includes Incline Village, announced Friday she will run for Reno mayor in 2014.
Berkbigler was urged to run by community members in light of recent Nevada Supreme Court ruling that barred term-limited Reno City Council members from running, she said in a statement.
“I am humbled by the amount of positive encouragement I’ve received to run for Reno mayor,” she said. “I had hoped the Nevada Supreme Court would have made a different ruling, but at this time Reno cannot afford a mayor who needs on-the-job training, and I feel I have the experience in both the private sector and government to provide the leadership Reno needs.”
Berkbigler, a Republican, said she is a strong advocate for regional economic development and will be a strong voice for building cooperation among local governments.
“Now more than ever, Reno needs a mayor who can lead on economic development to move the community into the future,” she said.
In a 5-2 vote, the Nevada Supreme Court on Feb. 20 ordered Washoe County to bar city council members Jessica Sferrazza and Dwight Dortch from running for mayor.
The ruling was prompted by a petition filed by Eddie Lorton, a Reno businessman who argued the state Constitution’s term-limits provision bars both from moving from one position on the council to become the mayor, who also sits on the council.
“Because the Reno City Charter makes the mayor a member of the city’s ‘local governing board’ for all purposes, we conclude that Article 15, Section 3(2) bars a term-limited council member from thereafter being elected mayor of Reno,” says the opinion written by Justice Jim Hardesty.
That section of the Constitution limits elected officials to 12 years in an office on a “local elected body.”
The key elements mentioned in the opinion, issued just two weeks before candidate filing opens, include that the mayor of Reno has a vote on the seven-member council and that his or her administrative duties as mayor are limited by the fact Reno has a city manager, who handles most administrative duties of running the city.
Berkbigler said she will file her candidacy at 9 a.m. Monday, when Nevada’s filing period begins, at the city clerk’s office. Learn more at www.Marsha4Mayor.com.
—Geoff Dornan of the Nevada Appeal contributed to this report.