CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Gov. Jim Gibbons appointed Kirk Montero as director of the Nevada Commission on Tourism without receiving names of three finalists from the commission as required by state law, a spokesman said.
Dan Burns, Gibbons' press secretary, said the governor thought it was important to fill the $117,000-a-year post as soon as possible.
Gibbons named Montero to the position on Wednesday. The post had
been vacant since Tim Maland resigned in September.
"We did not go through normal steps of choosing a director," Burns told the Las Vegas Sun. "It got to the point where action needed to be taken. And that's what happened.
"The governor feels tourism is so vitally important, especially in this downturn, that 3½ months is a long time to wait for a search," he added.
The commission on Monday is scheduled to discuss the appointment. The tourism director serves at the pleasure of the commission, and by law, the post is to be filled following a search by the board.
Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, chairman of the commission, acknowledged the board had not sent the names of three candidates to the governor for consideration.
A subcommittee was appointed to handle the search and 67 applications had been received.
"We moved as quickly as possible," Krolicki said.
The deputy director has been running the commission, and the panel was considering whether the position should be left vacant for salary savings.
The attorney general's office has been asked to review the appointment, including the fact that Montero's application was received 10 days after the deadline, the Sun reported.
The commission, whose eight members are appointed by the governor, is charged with developing marketing and advertising campaigns to boost tourism.
Montero, 60, is presently station manager for US Airways at Reno-Tahoe International Airport. Before that, he was reservations manager for Reno Air.
Montero said his references might have helped him land the job. They included Tourism Commissioner Bruce Dewing and Howard Weiss,
owner of a Reno RV dealership.
"The governor must think he's eminently qualified," Burns said. "That's why he put him in the job."
Burns acknowledged the commission has authority over the director and could replace him.
"They can fire him if they wanted to," he said. "Why not give the guy a chance?"
Information from: Las Vegas Sun, http://www.lasvegassun.com
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)