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Taxicab chief says he quit over ‘dysfunction’

The Nevada Taxicab Authority seems to be a tough state agency to oversee, considering that two administrators abruptly quit their jobs just four years apart, both citing frustration with a lack of support from their bosses.

The most recent administrator to turn in his resignation, Charles Harvey, said “the levels of dysfunction have been indescribable” at the agency.

But the department head who oversees the Taxicab Authority said Harvey and the agency received plenty of support and he was shocked about the resignation because Harvey seemed positive about the direction the agency was moving in a recent department head meeting.

“During the last legislative session, the Department of Business and Industry and the governor’s office worked closely with the Legislature to provide the Taxicab Authority with resources to address some of Mr. Harvey’s concerns, including a new deputy administrator, funding for 23 replacement vehicles, moving the agency to a more modern and accessible facility and a $16,000 salary increase,” said Bruce Breslow, director of the Department of Business and Industry.

“In addition, six new staff positions were funded, which included a compliance-audit investigator to investigate internal and external complaints involving the agency and address personnel issues. They also received 43 new replacement computers or laptops and six new touchpads.”

But in his resignation letter, Harvey said he didn’t see any hope that things would get better.

“For more than three years, I have served with dedication and honor and continuously strived to move the agency forward, despite the unrelenting employee opposition and organizational problems that have existed,” Harvey said in his Sept. 29 letter to Breslow.

“I have repeatedly brought issues to the attention of Agency HR Services, the Equal Opportunity office, the attorney general’s office, the (Taxicab Authority) board and the director’s office and requested assistance and support,” Harvey wrote. “For the most part, I have waged a one-man battle to address these issues and have suffered professionally and personally as a result. Quite simply, I have no confidence that this situation will change.”

Harvey’s predecessor, Gordon Walker, who now works for Lucky Limousine in Las Vegas, echoed Harvey’s sentiments.

“I would add the administrator’s job was the most unfulfilling professional experience of my career for all the reasons Harvey points out but also because I was constantly libeled by a certain reporter, by staff and other anonymous Internet bloggers,” Walker said in an email.

“As Harvey points out, running the Taxicab Authority is very much like waging a one-man battle because all the other players have their own agendas,” Walker said. “Unfortunately, the TA investigators see their job as getting rid of the latest administrator instead of doing their regulatory job of investigating cab drivers and the industry.”

Harvey, who had been with the Taxicab Authority since April 2011, submitted his resignation effective Oct. 31.

Harvey had long-standing frustrations with the regulatory enforcement officers within the agency. Many of the enforcement officers on the Taxicab Authority believed Harvey was incapable of overseeing the force because he has no law enforcement experience or training.

Breslow said the recently appointed deputy administrator, Jennifer DeRose, is now overseeing the agency. He said a temporary administrator would be appointed but that a permanent replacement would be found through the statutory procedure involving the five-member Taxicab Authority board.

The board, which has jurisdiction only over cabs operating in Clark County, will nominate three candidates for the administrator’s job and forward them to Breslow, who will make the appointment.

On Monday, the board issued an amended agenda for its Oct. 20 meeting that includes beginning selection of a new administrator.

Harvey, who hasn’t spoken publicly about the job since the resignation, has not shared his plans.

The Taxicab Authority regulates 3,000 cabs and more than 9,000 drivers in Clark County’s 16 cab companies. Cabs in other cities around the state are regulated by the Nevada Transportation Authority.

Contact reporter Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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