Las Vegas Sun

October 31, 2014

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Sandoval keeps budget director

Governor-elect Brian Sandoval will retain budget director Andrew Clinger, rounding out his team with former Assembly Minority Leader Heidi Gansert as chief of staff and former school district employee, state veteran and R&R Partners worker Dale Erquiaga as senior advisor.

Clinger has earned praise from Democratic and Republican lawmakers, despite their contentious relationship with his boss, Gov. Jim Gibbons, and completes Sandoval’s core team as they put together a budget.

Clinger was originally named budget director by Gov. Kenny Guinn.

Erquiaga, who grew up in Fallon, said today that Sandoval will be meeting with potential cabinet members over the next few weeks and announcing appointments. He promised to have weekly briefings for members of the press.

Naming Clinger as his first department head reflects that the administration’s first, toughest job will be to put together a budget. Sandoval on Tuesday reaffirmed his promise not to raise taxes.

Sandoval had promised to release a budget during the campaign, but failed to do so, other than to say there would be shared sacrifices.

Erquiaga said they would not provide specific budget details or numbers until the Economic Forum meets in December, to estimate the amount of revenue the state will have to spend over the next two years.

Erquiaga said Sandoval did not want to scare state workers about potential cuts before they are final. He said all option except taxes are on the table, including taking money from capital project funds for school districts. “The Legislature has the power to move money around,” he said. Sandoval had no plans to raise fees, Erquiaga said.

Erquiaga, Gansert and Sandoval, all 47, have a deep history together in Northern Nevada. Erquiaga said he went to 2nd grade with Sandoval in Fallon. Sandoval and Gansert were president and vice-president of the student body at Bishop Manogue Catholic High School in Reno.

Erquiaga lived in Las Vegas for roughly a decade, and was most recently the director of government affairs for the Clark County School District. He said Sandoval will name a transition team of about 30 people, none of whom are lobbyists.

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