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Publicist resigns from contract with city of Henderson after public records lawsuit

Elizabeth Trosper has resigned from a contract with the city of Henderson following a public records lawsuit involving the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Trosper, principal of Trosper Communications, a communications company in Henderson, said in a letter to the editor of the Review-Journal that the contract was voided as of Dec. 1 for two reasons: it became a distraction to her employees and clients and she felt the company could not provide the services it was hired for because it had become a news story.

“While I was under a contract with the city, I couldn’t comment on what was going on and I couldn’t defend myself,” Trosper said. “I wanted to make sure my side gets out.”

In March, Trosper received a one-year, $30,000 contract with the city. She has also assisted the political campaigns of Henderson City Council members.

In the letter, she wrote the contract with the city was never a conflict of interest.

“Trosper did not work for Judge Bateman until he ran for his current Justice of the Peace position, meaning he hired Trosper after the city contract had been in place for over four months,” the letter stated. “The article headline alluded that Trosper Communications was on payroll for Councilwoman Gerri Schroder. It is true Trosper worked on Schroder’s campaign that ended in April 2015. The reporter used social media as a reference, but did not fact check the status against campaign records, which are available to anyone.”

Trosper said she wasn’t hired by the mayor and council to work for the city. She said she was hired by City Manager Bob Murnane, because he was doing a complete reorganization of the public information office and wanted her professional advice.

Trosper added that she will continue working as a publicist for City Councilwoman Debra March, who is running for mayor. Trosper said March hired her in July 2015 to work as her publicist.

The lawsuit alleges that the public records, which the Review-Journal requested Oct. 4 under the state’s public records law, have been unjustifiably withheld and that the city is charging illegal fees for the collection and review of the documents.

In stating that it would need additional time, the city demanded payment of almost $6,000 to continue its review, according to the lawsuit.

Meanwhile, the Henderson City Council voted Tuesday night to let people apply for the Ward 4 council seat left vacant by Sam Bateman, who was elected to serve as the city’s justice of the peace.

The council voted unanimously to proceed with the appointment process— which is estimated to cost the city $125 — largely because it was the most “transparent and cost-effective” solution, Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen said.

The other two options were a cost-free direct appointment and a special election by all-mail-ballot estimated to cost $441,532.26.

The deadline to fill the vacancy is Jan. 16.

People can apply for the council member seat at city clerk’s office at City Hall, 240 S. Water St., from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 12 through 15.

Applicants must adhere to the guidelines to become a council member, which include being a Henderson resident for a year and a Ward 4 resident for 30 days.

Contact Sandy Lopez at slopez@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4686. Follow @JournalismSandy on Twitter.

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