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RSCVA cuts staff positions, budget

By ThisIsReno

SUBMITTED NEWS RELEASE

The Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority (RSCVA) announced budget cuts today of approximately $960,000 as a result of the continued downturn in both the national and Northern Nevada economies.

The cuts will be combined with other measures to close a budget deficit projected by the RSCVA in the current fiscal year. Approximately 73 percent of the budget cuts have come from operational reductions, and 27 percent have come from staff reductions.

Seven full-time positions have been impacted. Those employees have been notified that their positions will be eliminated as of today.  The RSCVA is offering severance packages to affected employees.

“The decision to reduce staff is incredibly difficult, but one that was necessary in light of the sluggish economic conditions impacting travel and tourism around the globe and right here in our own region,” said RSCVA President and CEO Ellen Oppenheim. “These adjustments will maintain the core functions of the organization and support our mission to drive new tourism and convention business to the market.”

Prior to the action to reduce the RSCVA budget, the organization had previously scheduled a mandatory one-week furlough affecting all full-time employees.  The majority of employees will take the week of Dec. 21 through Dec. 25, 2009 off without pay.

Employees will have the option of spreading out the impact of the salary reduction from the furlough over the next 10 pay periods. During this furlough period, the RSCVA will continue with regularly scheduled events at public facilities and maintain normal hours at Wildcreek Golf Course. RSCVA administrative offices and facilities with no events scheduled will have limited operations during the furlough period.

In addition to budget and staffing reductions the RSCVA has been operating under several cost-cutting measures aimed at reducing organization expenses since September of 2008.  These include; two consecutive years with no merit pay increases for staff (the RSCVA does not award a cost of living adjustment), changes in personnel benefit packages, the suspension of all employee incentive pay programs, and a mandatory one week furlough for all full-time employees during the last two fiscal years (Dec. 2008 and Dec. 2009).  In addition RSCVA President and CEO Ellen Oppenheim will take a voluntary 3 percent reduction in pay for the remainder of the current fiscal year (Jan. through June 2010).

The RSCVA Board of Directors authorized staff at the Nov. 19, 2009 meeting to make necessary budget adjustments to the current 2009-2010 fiscal year budget based on a projected shortfall in revenue for the organization.  Based on current trends through September 2009, the RSCVA projects an approximately $1.6 million deficit through the end of FY 09-10.  The deficit will be addressed through budget cuts and the sale of some water rights currently under RSCVA ownership.

Nearly two-thirds of the RSCVA’s income is generated from a portion of the room tax paid by hotel and motel occupants in Washoe County, where taxable room revenues have experienced year-over-year declines since March 2008.

The mission of the RSCVA is to attract overnight visitors to Reno-Tahoe lodging properties through tourism marketing, convention sales and facility operations. For more information, please visit the RSCVA online at www.VisitRenoTahoe.com.

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