Tahoe fire board appointment could impact November election
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Susan Herron’s appointment this month to the Incline Village fire board may set up a rare situation in November allowing her to be elected to another seat on the same board.
The longtime resident officially took office with the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District on July 1.
She replaced Wayne Fischer, who moved back to his hometown of Twin Falls, Idaho, earlier this year.
“I feel strongly in being involved in my community and being of service to my community,” Herron said Wednesday when asked why she applied for the seat that is up for reelection in 2016.
She also responded quickly when asked about the district’s current health.
“Chief (Mike) Brown is an outstanding leader — enough said,” she said.
Herron works full time as clerk to the Incline Village General Improvement District board and as executive assistant to General Manager Steve Pinkerton.
She said she doesn’t expect her work with IVGID — which includes two regular monthly board meetings, some of which last several hours, among other workshops — to interfere with properly serving as a fire board director.
HOLDING TWO SEATS?
While Herron joins Dale Smith, Paul Zahler, Gene Murrieta and Jeff Warner on the five-person board, what happens with the two seats up in the November general election remains to be seen.
Herron, Dennis Perry and the incumbent Warner filed papers earlier this year for the seats; the other is held by the outgoing Murrieta.
Herron said she’s spoken with Luanne Cutler, Washoe County Registrar of Voters, to clarify what her recent appointment means.
“(She) advised me I cannot be removed from the ballot,” Herron said. “If I am elected, I will have a decision to make as to whether I fill the elected seat or turn that down and continue with (her current appointed seat).”
NLTFPD Legal Counsel Geno Menchetti said he has a similar understanding.
“If she does get elected … she can say, ‘I’m keeping my old job, I don’t want this elected seat,’ … and then whatever election law from there would apply,” he said. “… But as for the mechanics of what actually occurs, it’s a bit complicated.”
Cutler could not be reached for comment this week, as she is on vacation. Other county officials were unable to provide further explanation, although a spokeswoman said information will likely be known later in the week.
A message for the Nevada Secretary of State’s public information officer was not returned for this story’s deadline.
‘GREAT TIME AND A GREAT LIFE’
In fall 2013, Warner was appointed to replace Don Epstein on the NLTFPD board. Herron also applied for that seat.
Similar to Fischer, Epstein resigned because he moved his primary residence to Florida.
Fischer, a fire board member the past nine and a half years, said he initially planned to serve out his term, but the housing market’s rebound was timed well.
“I’ve had a great time and a great life in Incline … but it was time for me to go back to where I was born and raised,” he said, adding that he has family and friends in the Twin Falls area. “I’ll be 70 at the end of the year … it was either make a change now, or stay there forever. In the end, the market was good, and it’s really easy to come back to an area you really know.”
While he announced his resignation in March, he made it effective July 1 because he figured his home would take awhile to sell.
Turns out, it took just 33 days, and he closed on May 2, something he called “quite impressive.” He thanked former NLTFPD fire board member Chris Plastiras, co-owner of Lakeshore Realty, for turning the sale around so quickly.
Aside from his role with the fire board, Fischer was an active resident and a board member of the Village League to Save Incline Assets during his 15 years living here.
“I’ve enjoyed it, everything — and it was an honor and privilege to be on the fire board,” he said. “Working with Chief Brown and the whole crew, you can’t find anything or anyone better … in my opinion they are the best in the country and ahead of the curve in all they do.”