The head of the Hotel and Restaurant Employees Local 86 in Reno has been named executive director of the State of Nevada Employees Association.
Scott MacKenzie, 44, takes over the post Aug. 1 from Bob Gagnier, who retired after representing state workers for 30 years.
MacKenzie was vacationing at a campground on Cape Cod and unavailable for comment. But SNEA President Sam Covelli predicted a different and probably more aggressive approach under MacKenzie's leadership.
"Gagnier took this organization to the level it's at now and he definitely will be missed," he said. "I think you'll see a little more direct approach."
SNEA officials say they will continue to focus on convincing lawmakers to grant state workers collective bargaining rights.
SNEA, representing about 4,300 state workers, is the largest of several unions with state members. Covelli said SNEA has been under attack from the teamsters, who represent highway patrol troopers, the electrical workers and a separate correctional officers' union among others.
He said Gagnier always "took the high road" in dealings with competing unions.
MacKenzie was political coordinator for the Culinary Union Local 226 in Las Vegas before moving to Reno. He was picket captain when workers struck Binion's Horseshoe Club in downtown Las Vegas.
When a strike hit the Frontier, he coordinated a march from Las Vegas to Los Angeles to call attention to the plight of workers.
He has been secretary-treasurer for Local 86 in Reno for seven years.