Commission on Tourism not first to have conflict with Gibbons Administration

The Commission on Tourism isn’t the first board under the Gibbons Administration to defend its right to do its job.

Last December, the Taxicab Authority was at loggerheads with Mendy Elliott, the director of Business and Industry, because she has someone she wanted for the job of administrator of the Taxicab Authority and her choice didn’t make the board’s final three.

I wrote about the conflict in this column that ran Dec 24, 2007.

And I wrote about the outcome in this one, which ran Feb. 18, 2008.

The short version: The board prevailed.

Elliott’s choice withdrew before there was a legal showdown and the governor picked Gordon Walker as administrator, who made the board's list of three applicants.

The issue was whether a member of the governor’s cabinet could force a supposedly independent board to do her bidding and the Taxicab Authority board members appeared willing to go to the mat rather than buckle under.

The Commission on Tourism seems made of the same mettle.

The Commission on Tourism was searching for a new agency head when on Christmas Eve, Gov. Jim Gibbons said it would be Kirk Montero, no ifs, ands or buts.

But commissioners today said Montero isn’t in the running. He didn’t get his application in on time and his qualifications were not that strong.

One commissioner said after looking at Montero’s resume that the governor’s man, a station manager for US Airways at the Reno airport, wouldn’t make his top 10, much less the top three.

Boards and commissions, even those including members appointed by the governor, don’t like to have their authority gutted.

They didn’t say it exactly this way, but in their meeting Monday, the message to the governor was pretty direct anyway: Go pound sand, governor.