Scott Whittemore, a former deputy commissioner with the state Division of Mortgage Lending, was appointed Tuesday as administrator of the regulatory agency that oversees the 16 taxicab companies in Southern Nevada.
Whittemore was selected as the permanent replacement for Ronald Grogan, who resigned in March amid a series of longtime disagreements with the state Taxicab Authority’s board of directors in developing a resolution to reduce complaints about long-hauling.
Joe “JD” Decker, administrator of the Department of Motor Vehicle’s compliance enforcement division, had served as the Taxicab Authority’s interim director after Grogan’s departure.
“My intention is to work closely with the Taxicab Authority board and execute their policy vision with clarity,” Whittemore said in a prepared statement.
“My first and foremost priority is the safety of the riding public,” Whittemore said. “Taxis provide 20 million annual trips for locals and tourists alike, and we will work to ensure the safety, comfort and convenience of every passenger.”
Whittemore, whose starting salary will be $106,569, steps into the role as the local taxicab industry has repeatedly reported monthly declines in revenue and ridership since ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft were legally allowed to operate in Southern Nevada in September 2015.
One move toward curbing that downward trend came in May, when the Taxicab Authority authorized taxi drivers to use a set of preapproved “parallel routes” along Frank Sinatra Drive, Sammy Davis Jr. Drive, Koval Lane and Interstate 15 when Las Vegas Boulevard is congested.
Officials with local cab companies and the authority have said the policy change will help passengers get to their destinations faster and will reduce complaints about drivers who take longer routes than necessary.
Whittemore emerged as the favored candidate to oversee the Taxicab Authority among six applicants who were interviewed in May. Three finalists were then considered by the state Department of Business and Industry for the appointment.
“Scott was instrumental in relaunching the Mortgage Lending Division and has demonstrated a high level of performance during his time with the state,” said C.J. Manthe, director of the state Department of Business and Industry.
“He has proven that he is a quick study with great new ideas and solid leadership skills,” Manthe said. “He is dedicated to building strong relationships with staff, the board and the industry, and his enthusiasm is what is needed to help taxicab owners reinvent the taxi experience in Clark County.”