Friday, July 13, 2012 | 6:05 p.m.
Gov. Brian Sandoval says he knows there will be some concern with the state awarding a $3 million contract to an out-of-state firm to increase tourism in Nevada.
But he says the 19 companies, 11 of them from outside Nevada, were graded fairly in selecting Burson-Marsteller of New York City to promote the marketing campaign for Nevada's museums, art offerings and Native American experiences.
The selection committee did "a great job" in unanimously choosing the company that has offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco, he said.
State Purchasing Director Greg Smith and Claudia Vecchio of the state Commission on Tourism briefed the state Board of Examiners that approved the proposed contract.
Smith said Burson-Marsteller will have to come into the state "and learn about it." The company will bring some fresh eyes in promoting Nevada, said Smith. And the state will be working with the branch offices of the company in California.
The selection process was almost like the Miss America contest, said Smith.
The tourism commission ended its contracts with private firms in 2009 because of the budget crunch, and the selection of this company will help draw visitors to Nevada, said Smith and Vecchio.
The selection committee was composed of tourism experts, said the two state officials. And Burson-Marsteller gained a perfect score, the two said.
Burson-Marsteller has 67 wholly owned offices and 71 affiliated offices in 98 countries.
The examiners board also approved a $22 million contract for the Department of Corrections to continue to care for and train the captured wild horses. The renewal contract is with the Bureau of Land Management.
Corrections Director Greg Cox said the inmates would learn to care for the animals and it would have a wonderful effect on the horses.
The site is at the prison ranch adjacent to the Northern Nevada Correctional Center in Carson City. An estimated 1,300 horses are at the ranch and some 70 are pulled out and trained at a time. And then they are put up for adoption.
Some 20 inmates work in the program. And the money received is used to run the prison industries program.