Las Vegas Sun

January 21, 2018

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Sandoval names two to state gaming board

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Brian Sandoval

CARSON CITY — Gov.-elect Brian Sandoval has picked two staff members to be promoted to the state Gaming Control Board because “they are steeped in gaming.”

Before their selection, Sandoval met with Shawn Reid, who is chief of investigations, and A. G. Burnett, deputy chief of the securities division.

Sandoval conferred with representatives of the gaming industry, former gaming commissioners and former board members, before choosing Reid and Burnett to replace Chairman Dennis Neilander and board member Randy Sayre.

Neilander, who has served 21 years in state government, asked not to be reappointed. Dale Erquiaga, senior staff member for Sandoval, said this did not reflect on the service of Sayre but that the governor-elect wanted his own people in the job.

Gov. Jim Gibbons today officially appointed Reid and Burnett starting Jan. 1 for 30 days and then Sandoval will name the two to four-year terms. The terms of Neilander and Sayre both conclude at the end of the year.

Erquiaga said the governor-elect wanted continuity in the control board that oversees the industry. And these two have a “depth of experience.”

Current member Mark Lipparelli of Las Vegas will serve as chairman.

Reid, 47, has worked his way through the ranks of the board after joining the agency in 1990. Burnett, 41, previously worked as senior deputy attorney general in the gaming division. Before that, he had a private law practice.

Erquiaga told reporters that Sandoval would not reappoint Tony Lesperance as director of the state Department of Agriculture. The decision was made after a report was released this week that criticized the agency's work environment.

Erquiaga said the governor-elect also reviewed a legislative audit of the department. He said that leaves decisions to be made on appointments to the departments of correction, public safety, department of motor vehicles, cultural affairs and wildlife. Either permanent or acting directors will be made before Sandoval takes over Jan. 3.

No decisions have been made on the budget, Erquiaga said, adding that Sandoval is sticking to his pledge of no-new taxes in this spending program. Sandoval intends to meet with legislative leadership to discuss where the money should be spent, Erquiaga said.

Sandoval is still looking consolidating cabinet posts and possibly eliminating some of the estimated 180 advisory boards.

Some of those boards are supported by fees from the industry and not by taxpayer dollars, Erquiaga said.

The decisions on the budget must be made by Jan. 8 so it can be printed and ready for the “State of the State” address.

Sandoval and Gibbons have not met so far, although the governor-elect asked for a meeting.

Erquiaga said the inaugural balls will be held Jan. 28 in Las Vegas at the Wynn casinos and Jan. 29 in Reno at the Silver Legacy. Tickets will go for $100 a person. Former First Lady Dema Guinn is head of the group working on details.

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