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Lawmaker Paul Anderson takes Nevada economic development job

Updated September 20, 2017 - 8:13 pm

Republican Assembly Leader Paul Anderson announced Thursday that he is resigning his seat in the Nevada Legislature to take a position with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

Anderson, who represents Assembly District 13 in northwest Las Vegas, will replace GOED Executive Director Steve Hill, who is leaving to take a position with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, though it’s unclear exactly what his role will be.

Anderson is expected to work as Hill’s deputy during a transitional period.

“It has been the honor of my life to have had the opportunity to serve the constituents of Nevada Assembly District 13,” Anderson said in a news release announcing his resignation as of Friday. “Together, we have passed into law major economic and education reforms that have effected real change for Nevada families and have made Nevada a national leader for private sector job growth, diversifying and rebuilding our economy, and have put us on the road to vastly improving our education standing.

“But the time has come to make a change. Opportunities to serve Nevadans in a new way have presented themselves,” he added.

Hill confirms departure

The governor’s economic office also released a statement from Hill confirming his departure for the LVCVA.

“Paul is an accomplished businessman, a proven leader, and widely respected. He will play a vital role in continuing to move Nevada’s economy forward and we are very fortunate to have him join GOED,” he said. “The LVCVA is an exceptional organization and has played a central role in the success of Las Vegas. … I look forward to meeting with members of the board to discuss their vision for the organization and how I might play a role.”

There was no indication whether Hill’s presumed departure from GOED would affect his status as chairman of the Las Vegas Stadium Authority.

Hill has viewed building a 65,000-seat domed football stadium as an economic development strategy.

Hill did not return a call seeking comment.

Clark County Commissioner and authority board member Larry Brown said the news of Hill joining the authority was news to him.

“I haven’t heard anything specific, nor has the board,” Brown said Wednesday.

But Brown said the tourism agency has been working on a succession plan for the LVCVA leadership.

“I do know that was part of their overall plan. My understanding is they’ve hired two new senior management positions since the beginning of the year. I think they’ve actually created three executive positions.”

Succession planning

Brown said LVCVA administrators have been working on leadership succession plans for 18 months, before he was appointed to the 14-member board that oversees the marketing of Las Vegas and management of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

LVCVA President and CEO Rossi Ralenkotter, who has been with the organization for more than 40 years and earlier this year guided approvals for a $1.4 billion expansion and renovation of the Convention Center, has battled cancer for more than a year, according to a source close to the situation.

But there has been no public discussion about replacing him or splitting his responsibilities.

The LVCVA issued a statement late Wednesday that didn’t say whether Hill was being hired.

“The LVCVA has been very transparent in its search for a qualified president,” said a statement emailed by spokesman Jeremy Handel.

“This search has been ongoing for the better part of two years, as this person will play a vital role in the succession plan for the organization and work alongside Rossi in the years to come,” Handel said.

“We have conducted an extensive nationwide search, and certainly Steve Hill is one of the most qualified candidates, but out of respect for our board of directors and their process to complete their due diligence, we will not be making further comment.”

Questionable spending by tourism agency

Hill’s move to the LVCVA comes after the Review-Journal has published a series of stories uncovering questionable spending of taxpayer dollars by the tourism agency.

The expenditures included millions of dollars for lavish entertainment services and scores of rides for Ralenkotter and former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman by LVCVA security officers.

Anderson was first elected to the Assembly in 2012 and went on to win re-election in 2014 and 2016.

The Republican Assembly Caucus will vote on a new leader at a meeting Thursday. Sources say Gardnerville Assemblyman Jim Wheeler “has the votes” and is expected to get the nod.

Contact Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter. Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Nicole Raz contributed to this story.

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