Las Vegas Sun

October 1, 2014

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Gaming exec is first woman to head Metro fiscal panel

For the first time, a woman now heads a committee that watches Metro Police’s bottom line, votes on spending and has the power to approve police union contracts.

Renee West, chief operating officer of the Luxor and Excalibur resorts, was named to the Metro’s Fiscal Affairs Committee this morning. The four other members of the committee then voted her to be chairwoman, with Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak vice chairman.

West replaces Jim Hammer, chief executive officer of Paycard USA, who has been chairman since 2009.

“She brings an extensive amount of background from the resort industry and a number of positions she has held,” Sheriff Doug Gillespie said.

By statute, new committee chairpeople are recommended by the sheriff, and committee members have the right to vote for or against them. The other four committee members consist of two representatives from the Las Vegas City Council and two from the Clark County Commission.

Hammer’s term as chairman saw him grappling with dwindling tax revenues during the sharp economic downturn that began in 2008. He and Sisolak teamed together and asked many hard questions of Metro’s spending habits.

Gillespie said Hammer recommended West to replace him.

West did not speak during the vote and Hammer was absent from today’s meeting.

The chairperson is re-elected at one-year intervals. Hammer’s term ends in August.

Sisolak suggested he is departing because Hammer is also an applicant with the city of Las Vegas to obtain a medical marijuana dispensary license. The city is allowed 12 dispensaries; the selection process won’t be finalized for several weeks after applicants submitted documents last week.

Though medical marijuana is legal in Nevada, it is still considered a controlled substance by federal authorities.

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