State briefs |

State briefs

One of George Chanos’ first acts as attorney general this week was to name a consumer advocate to replace his wife, Adrianna.

She resigned the position she has held for 10 months to avoid any appearance of conflict after Gov. Kenny Guinn appointed her husband to replace Brian Sandoval.

Eric Witkoski, who has worked for the three previous consumer advocates, was named to the position representing Nevadans in utility rate cases and in handling issues ranging from antitrust and deceptive trade practices to securities, charities and telemarketing fraud.

Witkoski has been a deputy in the office of the consumer advocate since 1994. He was promoted to senior deputy in 2001 and has worked on every major gas and electric rate case filed during the past decade.

He has also been lead attorney for the office in proceedings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

“Eric has demonstrated his commitment to protecting consumers’ rights and has a tremendous amount of experience representing Nevada consumers’ interests in litigated cases,” said Chanos.

Sandoval was sworn in Monday as a federal district judge.

Azzam named state epidemiologist

Ihsan Azzam has been named Nevada’s state epidemiologist.

He will be responsible for protecting the health of Nevadans through disease surveillance and interventions to control or prevent the spread of disease.

He has been manager of the division’s Environmental Public Health Tracking system and holds a master’s in public health and a degree in medicine.

Azzam has also acted as coordinator for the division’s Women’s Health Connection.

“His knowledge, enthusiasm and motivation will continue to advance the work of the Office of Epidemiology,” said Alex Haartz, administrator of the state health division.

After almost 20 years, official retires from state tax commission

Barbara Smith Campbell is retiring from the Nevada Tax Commission after nearly 20 years of service.

She was appointed by Richard Bryan when he was governor in 1986 and has been reappointed three times by Bryan’s successors Bob Miller and Kenny Guinn.

“She has done a remarkable job and is one of the best appointments I ever made,” said Bryan.

Guinn thanked Campbell for her service saying “we are losing a valued professional and a tremendous person with a strong work ethic.”

The tax commission consists of eight citizens appointed by the governor to serve four-year terms. As a body, it oversees the administration and operations of the Department of Taxation, adopting regulations that govern the enforcement of state tax laws.

The commission also hears taxpayer appeals of hearing decisions involving taxation.

Campbell is vice president of finance for MGM Grand Resorts Development and has more than 25 years experience in highway, commercial, agricultural, utility and residential development.

“The explosive population and economic growth in the state of Nevada has propelled the expansion of the Department of Taxation in its role of administration, collection and governance of taxes,” she said.

The commission became a focal point of public attention following the 2003 Legislature when it was charged with creating regulations to implement the new tax laws approved that year.