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September 17, 2014

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Las Vegas constable says abolishing office would be ‘big mistake’

Image

Steve Marcus

Deputy Constable Patrick Geary prepares to enter an apartment during an eviction near Desert Inn Road and Joe W. Brown Drive on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013. The resident had already moved out.

Updated Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 | 4:36 p.m.

Click to enlarge photo

John Bonaventura, shown in 2004 as a candidate for the Clark County Commission.

Las Vegas Constable John Bonaventura faced off with Clark County commissioners Tuesday when the board introduced an ordinance that could eliminate his office starting in 2015.

Bonaventura called the proposed ordinance, which would abolish the Las Vegas Township Constable’s Office, a “big mistake” and said it would circumvent the will of the voters.

“If you put it under the sheriff...it’s going to be a big waste of money,” Bonaventura told the commission. “The services are going to go down. It’s going to take eight months for an eviction, seven or eight months to serve a garnishment.”

The ordinance introduction was approved unanimously by the commission, and a public hearing was set for 10 a.m. March 19. That’s when commissioners could take action on the item.

If the office was eliminated, its functions — they include enforcing evictions and serving civil documents such as subpoenas, property liens, court summonses and wage garnishments — would likely be split between Metro Police and private process servers.

“I don’t mind (commissioners) looking at it. It’s their right. It’s in the statute that they can do that. But there are a lot of other laws in the statute I don’t think they’re aware of,” Bonaventura told reporters after the ordinance was introduced. ”The commissioners need to actually read some of the laws because if the office is abolished it’s going to create big problems for the citizens of Las Vegas and the sheriff’s office.”

Since Bonaventura was elected constable in 2010, his office has been dogged by controversies, including allegations of sexual harassment, the filming of a profanity-laced reality television show pilot and engaging in lawsuits against constable’s offices in other jurisdictions.

Last week, Bonaventura was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in an official vehicle.

In a Thursday email to news outlets, Bonaventura said he was under the legal blood-alcohol content limit when he was pulled over and that the arrest was the result of retaliation against him by county officials, specifically over a lawsuit he filed against the Henderson and Laughlin constables.

Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani said the headlines generated by Bonaventura’s bad behavior prompted a discussion of the role of the office, but she denied the ordinance was retaliation against the constable.

Instead, Giunchigliani said she wanted the county study to see if there’s better way of providing constable services.

“It really is about taking a step back and taking a look at why we do it this way in Southern Nevada. Are we overlapping duties?” Giunchigliani said. “Maybe in the long run there’s a better way to do business.”

About two dozen uniformed constable’s officers were in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting, and the commission made the unusual move of allowing comments from deputies in the audience.

Many told commissioners they were afraid of losing their jobs if the constable’s office is abolished.

“I personally am against abolishing the office. I think we provide great service to all of Clark County,” office services manager Charlene Morgan said. “I just hope you remember we are regular people trying to support our families. We don’t have a horse in the race as far as policy or trying to circumvent anything or go around you guys or whatever the issue is as far as the constable is concerned.”

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  1. It seems to me that it was John Bonaventura's Action that have brought this on and he is taking everyone else down with him. Perhaps those that spoke at the meeting should have a vote of no confidence in Mr. Bonaventura and provide information that would lead to his ouster, They then could keep their jobs.

  2. @casinokid

    That's a very valid point. The only concern however is that Bonaventura here isn't the only person who is the problem with the LV Township's Constable's Office. You've got convicted felon Lou Toomin who just wants to be a bully towards people, Deputy Luis Rendon who is stalking citizens and killing people's pets by shooting them (along with his own prior criminal record as well), and long lists of allegations of sexual harassment and corruption within this office. Even in the video that the article here speaks of, Deputies actually confess on camera to breaking the law for their own personal gain when it comes to serving paperwork to people.

    I'm not so sure myself that we should abolish the Constable's office. Bonaventura is correct in stating that the office does provide valuable services to Las Vegas. However I do strongly feel that NONE of the employees of this office deserve to keep their jobs. What we need is a fresh start.

    As for Bonaventura's whole "circumventing the will of the voters" bit, he fails to realize that's not what's happening here at all. The will of the voters is still being carried out. It's just the County Commission that is doing it, and our will is to throw you and your cronies out. If the families of the people under Bonaventura are so important to him and his employees, perhaps they shouldn't have endangered their jobs by doing all of this. Now it's just time for all to pay the price.

  3. The will of the people is for this office to be ran correctly and respectfully. Mr. Bonaventura has not proven to be the person for this job.

    I don't know every Constable on the department so I can not say they all should go but seems there are some that Mr. Bonaventura has brought aboard that are making a laughing stock of the department. That is understandable considering the lack of leadership.

    Since he is an elected official he can be recalled. Is it worth the efforts at this point or do we wait for him to lose the next election? You have to wonder how much more damage he is going to do to this office before he is out of it.

  4. The Las Vegas Constable's office...

    it's a PARODY of a 'law enforcement agency'.

  5. I agree %100 with DMC. The limited experience I had with the Constable's Office was frightening. I was fined for driving my Uncle's car. My uncle had just passed away few days prior. They called me a liar and intimidated me from defending myself. Threatening me with jail time. When I tried to explain myself. Total abuse

  6. "Bonaventura called the proposed ordinance, which would abolish the Las Vegas Township Constable's Office, a "big mistake"

    Hey Joe, would it be a bigger mistake than driving while intoxicated, arming convicts, sexually harrassing your staff or having a video crew tape your deputies abusing their authority?

    "If you put it under the sheriff...it's going to be a big waste of money," Bonaventura told the commission.

    Hey Joe, will it be a bigger waste of money than your mismanagement that blew through a five million dollar reserve since you took office?

    "The services are going to go down. It's going to take eight months for an eviction, seven or eight months to serve a garnishment."

    Hey Joe, nice fear mongering there. If you are so concerned, you can stop this whole process. Resign immediately ending the entire issue