With Pat Mulroy’s departure now official, the race is on to find a new general manager for the Las Vegas Valley’s wholesale water supplier and its largest water utility.
The Southern Nevada Water Authority board has less than two months and one scheduled meeting to pick a replacement before Mulroy steps aside on Feb. 6.
Mulroy’s choice is Deputy General Manager John Entsminger, but others have already expressed interest in the job and warrant consideration, said Clark County Commissioner and authority board member Steve Sisolak.
“I think this is an extremely important decision,” he said. “I’d like to look at everyone who is available.”
Mulroy announced in late September that she planned to retire soon, but she didn’t make it official until Thursday, when she sent her letter of resignation to the authority’s seven-member board.
In the letter, she said Feb. 6 would be her last day, though she offered to stay on through Feb. 20 if her successor isn’t named in January.
The board isn’t scheduled to meet this month. Its next regular meeting is scheduled for Jan. 16, but Sisolak said a special meeting could be called if necessary. Board members also could name an interim chief until a permanent replacement is found, he said. “I’m certainly not going to be rushed into something to fit someone’s time schedule.”
Sisolak said he has talked to three people so far who expressed interest in the job, including County Commissioner Larry Brown.
Several messages left for Brown were not immediately returned.
Mulroy said she hopes the board will seriously consider Entsminger, who she has been “grooming” for the job the past four years.
“He has done an incredible job. He is well-respected in the (Colorado) river community,” she said.
Mulroy is the only general manager the Southern Nevada Water Authority has ever had. She was named general manager of the Las Vegas Valley Water District in 1989, and she took on the dual role of general manager of the water authority in 1992, shortly after the regional water supplier was formed.
Since then, Mulroy has shepherded the community through explosive growth that required billions of dollars in new infrastructure and strained its limited water supply, forcing a new focus on conservation in a place famous for excess.
Her quest for water for the Las Vegas Valley has attracted international media attention and criticism closer to home, particularly among residents of rural eastern Nevada, where Mulroy’s agency plans to tap groundwater and pipe it south. That controversial, multibillion-dollar project was initiated by the water district just as Mulroy was ascending to the top job, and it continues to wend its way through the courts and the permitting process.
On Tuesday, the project was dealt a setback, when a district judge ruled that state regulators had more work to do before granting the authority permission to fill its pipeline.
Shortly after sending out her letter of resignation, Mulroy said it is time for her to do something else, though she hasn’t decided what that will be.
“It’s very strange,” she said. “I’ve been in this position for 25 years. When you’re in the thick of it, you never think this day will come.”
Contact reporter Henry Brean at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0350.