Search for economic chief to await study's completion

The search for a permanent director for the Nevada Commission on Economic Development will await completion of a wide-ranging study of the commission's work.

Tim Rubald, executive director of the agency since January 2006, resigned from the post that pays about $100,000 a year the day before Thanksgiving. The resignation was requested by Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, who serves as chair of the commission.

Krolicki said last week that he doesn't believe the search for a permanent director should begin until the commission has completed its review and decided on its mission.

"We need to be thinking about the big picture, how to expand our economy in smart ways," Krolicki said. "There's still work to be done. It's very much a work in progress."

Much of the commission's work in its formal meetings in recent years has been devoted to decisions about incentive programs such as tax abatements to companies that bring new jobs to the state.

"We need to re-tool for the decades to come," the lieutenant governor said. "It's healthy to take a look at it."

He said the state has strong advantages in the battle for economic development ranging from an attractive tax structure to strong transportation infrastructure.

But Nevada also is surrounded by states with aggressive, well-funded efforts to woo new industry, Krolicki said.

While the economic development commission completes its review of its role, Krolicki said he hopes the agency can attract an interim director who is familiar with the economic development scene in Nevada. That interim director, he said, is likely to serve for 60 to 90 days.

Rubald, who was named interim director of the commission after the resignation of Bob Shriver in mid-2005, joined the agency in 1998 as its director of research and prospect development.

Before coming to Nevada, he worked as a downtown revitalization specialist and consultant.

He also has owned several businesses ranging from a restaurant to a firewood production firm.

The commission on economic development has a staff of about 30 and a budget of about $6 million a year. Its work ranges from rural economic development to boosting the television and film industry in the state.

Members of the seven-member commission from northern Nevada include Sara Beth Brown and Patty Wade of Reno and Leroy Goodman, a Lyon County commissioner from Fernley. They're appointed by the governor.


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