Southern Nevada housing agency’s search for executive nears end

Chairwoman Dora LaGrande presides at the Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority’s budget meeting in an Aug. 17, 2017, file photo in Las Vegas. At left, is commissioner Sanje Sedera. (Morgan Lieberman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

The Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority has narrowed its nationwide search for an executive director to five applicants, but the agency’s board will not disclose the names of the chosen few.

Housing authority chairwoman Dora LaGrande said her board will only reveal the identities of, at most, two finalists for the position.

“People don’t want their current employer to know they’re applying for jobs,” LaGrande said of the other applicants. “We want to maintain their confidentiality.”

The housing authority has been without a permanent executive director since April 2016. John Hill left the position after a majority of board members voted to end his tenure more than two years before his contract expired.

This January the board launched its third search for an executive director in as many years. The previous two searches each ended with an applicant being offered the job but ultimately not taking it.

Before the application period closed last month 200 people applied for the position, according to the City of Las Vegas, which screened the applications.

The city passed along 34 applications to a committee of housing authority board members, and the committee cut the list to five.

“They have the prerequisite experience. They’ve had director experience. They have finance experience,” LaGrande said of the remaining applicants. “They understand the challenges the housing authorities are facing in the future.”

The five applicants were asked to answer an additional six questions about topics including negotiating with labor unions, dealing with “contentious” boards and collaborating with elected officials. The executive director search committee was scheduled to review the questionnaires today, LaGrande said.

The committee will choose one or two finalists for the position and announce their identities at the housing authority board’s next regular meeting on May 17. LaGrande said the committee will interview the finalists in-person.

“If we agree on an individual then we’ll bring in that individual. If we don’t agree on an individual then we’ll bring in a couple individuals,” she said.

The housing authority board must vote to extend a job offer. The position’s starting salary range is from $108,000 to $179,000 plus benefits.

Contact Michael Scott Davidson at sdavidson@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3861. Follow @davidsonlvrj on Twitter.

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