An open judicial seat will remain vacant until the next regularly-scheduled election, Washoe County commissioners unanimously decided during Tuesday’s meeting.
Justice of the Peace Pete Sferrazza retired his Department 2 seat, which he’s held since 2007, in late October.
Sferrazza, 75, had previously been a Washoe County commissioner and also served as Reno mayor from 1981 to 1995.
Chief Judge Ryan Katherine Sullivan recently notified county commissioners that the Reno Justice Court judges would be willing to cover the Department 2 caseload until a new judge is elected to fill the spot in the November 2022 election. The winner would assume office Jan. 3, 2023.
“This is a smart and wise decision for us to allow the judges to conduct their business as they see fit for their courts, and also creating a savings for them and the county as a whole,” Commission Chairman Bob Lucey said.
Commissioners had the option of holding a special mail-in election, which would’ve cost more than $400,000. The other option could’ve been to appoint someone to the bench temporarily until the seat could be filled in the next election. Not filling the seat immediately saves the county approximately $19,000 a month.
Commissioners recalled a similar situation when Judge Jack Schroeder retired in 2014. A vacancy remained until the winner of the seat in the 2016 election assumed office.