Tourism panel rejects governor’s choice
ission on Monday refused to add Gov. Jim Gibbons’ choice to the list of candidates for director.
On Christmas Eve, Gibbons appointed Kirk Montero as tourism director, saying the state has been more than three months without a director in what he considers a critical position.
But that appointment violated Nevada statutes, which require that the governor make his choice from a list of three names submitted by the tourism commission. The commission is still reviewing 67 applications for that job and hasn’t yet presented Gibbons with that list.
Gibbons responded with a letter to commission chairman and Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki advising him that, when the list arrives, “I expect the recommendations to include Mr. Kirk Montero.”
Krolicki said Assistant Attorney General Jim Spencer advised him that would require the commission to re-open the entire selection process since Montero didn’t get his application in by the deadline. The result, he said, would be more delays in getting a list of three finalists to the governor.
Montero, 60, is the station manager for US Airways at Reno-Tahoe International Airport. Before that, he was reservations manager for Reno Air.
Commissioner Ryan Sheltra, saying he was influenced in part by the attorney general’s advice, said he would support going forward with the existing list of applicants.
“We have some very highly qualified candidates vying for this position,” he said. “And as a member of the search committee, I can tell you Mr. Montero’s resume would not have made it into my top 10.”
He was backed by commissioner Chuck Bowling, who said he agreed with those statements.
On Sheltra’s motion, the commission voted unanimously to continue their selection process rather than conduct a new search that would include Montero’s name. Krolicki said after the meeting that they should have it down to a half dozen names by mid-January and a list of three for the governor shortly thereafter. He praised the quality of the top applicants.
“We look forward to the governor appointing one of our people,” he said.
Sheltra said after the meeting that the list includes “some heavily qualified candidates who have gaming and hospitality experience.”
“I’m very pleased that we’ll have the opportunity to present these candidates to the governor,” he said.
Gibbons spokesman Dan Burns said the governor acted because it had been so long since former director Tim Maland left in September.
“The governor did this because we’ve been waiting three and a half months for a list, and the governor considers tourism a vital part of Nevada’s economy,” said Burns.