Haycock recommended as head of Nevada Public Employees Benefit Program
The Public Employees Benefit Program board voted unanimously on Thursday to recommend the appointment of Damon Haycock as the new PEBP Executive Officer.
The recommendation goes to Gov. Brian Sandoval who can either appoint Haycock to the post or ask the board to re-open applications.
Haycock is currently Chief Operating Officer at the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange. He was one of four finalists who applied for the job vacated when Jim Wells was named Director of Administration and state Finance Director.
Haycock told board members he would work with them to research all design elements of the program to improve communications, wellness integration and ease of use for members.
He said his leadership style is simple: “I treat those who work for me as people deserving of common human decency and respect.”
Staff development, he said, “is my favorite barometer of success.”
Haycock was praised by board members for his focus on innovation and collaboration with board members and other staff to improve PEBP.
But one key factor cited by several members including Chairman Leo Drozdoff was Haycock wasn’t currently part of PEBP and would bring a new set of eyes to the “culture within the agency.”
“If the culture is not great, is pulling someone from that culture going to get us down the road?” Drozdoff asked.
That was his apparent advantage over the second choice, Celestena Glover who’s currently chief financial officer at PEBP.
In addition to Glover, Roger Rahming, now operations officer for PEBP, and William Woodward, a management analyst with the Nevada Division of Insurance, were the finalists from the list of 12 who applied for the position.
Asked about the board’s recommendation, Mike Willden, chief of staff to Gov. Brian Sandoval, said Haycock worked for him in two different positions when he was head of Health and Human services.
He said he doubts Sandoval is personally familiar with Haycock and his work.
“I think highly of him,” Willden said. “Leo thinks highly of him.”
Since Wells left the post in January, Kateri Carraher has been interim executive officer at PEBP.
PEBP provides health benefits to some 30,000 state employees, retirees and their families and has a budget of nearly $1 billion over the biennium.