NV Agriculture Director Resigns

"I will give you my resignation the first of February," said Tony Lesperance, Department of Agriculture Director, told his board today.

Normally that would be the end of the story, but not today at the Department of Agriculture.

Nevada's newest governor Brian Sandoval said he would not accept Lesperance as AG Director and advised the board to select an interim director for the governors approval--all by January 15th.

The notice, timing and explanation for such a directive did not set well with many on the board

Board Member Ed Vogler complained, " We are a Chihuahua barking at a Great Dane. We are just this tiny department."

"I think the fact that the Governor's Office isn't here doesn't help today," said Grady Jones, another board member.

Those offended by such a request by the governor pointed to other motivations.

They claimed that by weakening the agriculture department southern nevada would be able to take more water from outlying ranches.

Others said there's a move a front to fold the ag department into the department of commerce and industry.

Others said the general public and lawmakers aren't educated enough about the importance of a nearly 3-billion dollar industry.

"I am deeply troubled by this," commented Lesperance as he watched the board argue amongst themselves for three hours.

The fact is: Two internal audits of Lesperance's job performance show many aren't happy with his leadership.

That, the governor says would be a hindrance to the Ag Department if Lesperance appeared before lawmakers on behalf of his department.

A call was even made to the Governor's transition director Dale Erquiaga for quote: "more clarification." He spoke to the board by speaker phone and said Lesperence could not stay until July as Vogler and others had wanted.

But the call wasn't good enough for members like Vogler who wanted more answers about water, and consolidation.

Vogler and others voted to table the motion to relieve Lesperance of his duties and start seeking a replacement. That was soon overturned..

.Lesperance's resignation was accepted--nearly unanimously, and names are now being collected for an interim director.

For his part Lesperance says he'll stay until February first to work on a financial report for the legislature.

The board alreay has 3 names vying for the interim director's job. The board believes it will have several candidate names for the Governor by his appointed deadline.