City yet to fill director posts

-A A +A
By David Giuliani

In June, the City Council voted to dismiss six city directors. More than four months later, none of the positions have been filled.

City Manager Sharon Caballero said the city is purposely “dragging our feet” because the open positions have created vacancy savings in a tight budget year.

She said that hasn’t affected morale because “most of the people like the interim directors we have. They have worked with them for a long time.”

For the housing director’s position, an interview panel, which includes former housing directors Hector Kavanaugh and Myles Sweeney, has interviewed candidates and the city is now checking references.

“We’re not in a rush to hire anyone immediately,” Mayor Tony Marquez said. “We have confidence in the city manager and the interim director (Lori Gonzales).”

He said the city wants to wait and see how the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development plans to handle the local housing authority. He noted recent comments by a former employee of a top HUD official, Floyd Duran, indicating that Duran didn’t have the best interests of Las Vegas at heart.

“We want some of our questions answered,” the mayor said, adding that the city has contacted the federal congressional delegation about Duran. He wants Duran’s supervisor to speak to the council.

Lori Gonzales is the interim director; she has said she doesn’t want the permanent position.

As for the finance director’s post, an interview panel made up of state finance employee Roseann Romero, Highlands University Associate Vice President Lawrence Trujillo and Caballero interviewed five of the 10 applicants of the position.

However, Caballero said the city decided to reopen the search because none of the candidates had the type of municipal government experience that the city was seeking.

“Municipal government finance rules are very different,” Caballero said. She is the interim finance director.

The status of other open director positions:

• City clerk — Five people applied, but none of the candidates had election experience, officials said. The search has been reopened. Denise Roybal has been the interim city clerk; she said she doesn’t want the permanent position.

• Fire chief — The city hasn’t opened a search for this position. Steve Tafoya is the interim fire chief.

• Public works director — Mayor Tony Marquez has a final interview with the top candidate. The position attracted a dozen candidates, and the city held six interviews, officials said. The city expects that it may hire someone as early as late November. Joe Lucero is the interim public works director.

• Recreation director — The city has a final interview with the top candidate. The city expects to hire someone as early as this month.