Embattled RSCVA head resigns | NevadaAppeal.com

Embattled RSCVA head resigns

Associated Press

RENO, Nev. – The embattled head of the Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority is gone, barely a week after coming under fire for charging more than $6,400 worth of personal items on agency credit cards and lagging on making repayments.

Reno Mayor Jeff Griffin told a news conference on Thursday that Phil Keene had resigned, effective immediately. Keene did not attend.

Griffin, who heads the visitors authority board of directors, called the credit card issue a ”precipitous event” in the resignation of Keene as president and chief executive officer after two years and eight months on the job.

”It’s my belief that there were other concerns, some of which were expressed at marketing meetings, some of them were expressed at facilities meetings, some of them were expressed at finance committee meetings.”

Concerns arose about Keene’s oversight of a $105-million expansion and renovation of the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, planning of which had to be stopped and restarted, the strength of the just released RSCVA marketing plan, and his general management of the agency and its roughly $32.5-million annual budget.

Keene, 58, could not be reached for comment and was said to be headed on a pre-planned Mexican cruise, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported on Friday.

Keene, who earns a base salary of $180,000 a year, will receive full pay and benefits through July and will not work for the agency for at least the next month.

At the RSCVA board’s next meeting on April 27, directors will consider whether they want Keene involved in any way with the agency in the final three months of compensation.

Lynn Thompson, 56, who was hired by Keene as chief operating officer in December 1997, will act as interim CEO at least until the April meeting.

He said the announcement came as a surprise to him and that he is flattered to serve as interim CEO. But he said the circumstances of the appointment are ”not real positive.”