Fontaine leaving NDOT for counties association |

Fontaine leaving NDOT for counties association

Appeal Capitol Bureau

Nevada Department of Transportation Director Jeff Fontaine will become the executive director of The Nevada Association of Counties.

Outgoing association president Norm Frey, of Churchill County, said Fontaine will start in January, along with Elko County Commissioner John Ellison, who takes over as head of NACO.

The NACO board met Monday to select a replacement for Bob Hadfield, who retired as director several years ago, but was brought back as interim director this year.

Fontaine, 51, was recommended for the position by the association’s executive committee.

“I think he’s pretty excited about this new challenge in his life,” Frey said. “I’m excited. I think NACO is on its feet and ready for the new legislative session.”

He said he has been interested in county and local government for years from when he worked with county officials on water-quality issues at the health division.

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Fontaine said he leaves Gov.-elect Jim Gibbons with a solid staff at NDOT.

“It’s a department whose service and mission affect virtually everyone in the state,” he said. “There’s a lot going on, and, like I said, I can’t give the 1,700 people who work there enough credit.”

Fontaine said he would stay until January to help Gibbons with the transition.

He has been director of the Nevada Department of Transportation since April 2003, overseeing the agency during a huge expansion of major roadway projects in the state undertaken under the direction of Gov. Kenny Guinn.

Fontaine was deputy director from 1995 to 2003 and a public health engineer with the Nevada Health Division for eight years before moving to NDOT. He holds a bachelor of arts degree from Temple University, a master’s from Northeastern University and a master’s in public health from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a registered public health engineer.

He has also been a member of the Carson City Planning Commission and was an appointed member of the Carson City School Board, where he replaced Sheila Ward after she resigned. In November, he lost a bid for the board’s district 6 seat to Barbara Howe.