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Gibbons appoints penny pincher

CARSON CITY — Former U.S. Public Printer Bruce James was named Wednesday by Gov. Jim Gibbons to serve as chairman of a state commission to look at ways to improve government efficiency and save taxpayer dollars.

James, 65, a Lake Tahoe resident, will head the 12-member Nevada Savings and Government Efficiency (SAGE) Commission.

Gibbons wants the commission to find ways to save money, while improving efficiency and customer service.

In coming days, Gibbons will appoint five more members to the commission and request that legislative leaders appoint the six remaining members. He formally will introduce James as chairman of the SAGE Commission at the May 7 meeting of his cabinet.

The appointment of the commission comes at a time when Gibbons and legislators have been forced to cut state spending by $914 million because of an economic downturn. Recovery is not expected at least until after the 2009 Legislature.

“This commission will identify ways the public can streamline its operations and maximize the use of taxpayer dollars, all while better serving the public,” Gibbons said in a prepared statement. “I’m not interested in another study that sits on a shelf and collects dust.”

James spent five years as the nation’s “public printer,” a position in which he was chief executive officer of the U.S. Government Printing Office. He oversaw production of materials for all three branches of government.

That work included printing the Congressional Record and the Federal Register. He was appointed to the post by President Bush and confirmed by the Senate on Nov. 22, 2002.

Previously, James spent his working career as a private printer who founded San Francisco companies that pioneered the use of computers in producing electronic images.

After earning millions in private industry, James retired from business in 1993 and moved to Nevada.

He made a brief run for the U.S. Senate, with former President Ford showing up at his announcement ceremony in 1997.

Gibbons said other members of the commission will include business leaders with proven records of creating efficiencies and cost savings in their organizations.

“The more we can save by implementing operating efficiencies, the better we can meet the needs of our state with the resources we have,” Gibbons said.

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