By Sean Whaley, Nevada News Bureau
CARSON CITY — The state Board of Examiners today approved a $3 million contract with an out-of-state firm to spearhead tourism efforts in Nevada after being told the selection process was thorough and fair.
The board, with members Gov. Brian Sandoval and Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto voting, approved the two-year contract with the California-based offices of Burson-Marsteller.
Approval came despite the fact that the contract remains in limbo. The Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee in June delayed approval of budgetary changes sought by the Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs needed to pay the contract.
The budget changes were deferred after Sen. Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, a candidate for the 4th Congressional District seat, questioned if the firm had any knowledge of Nevada. The Interim Finance Committee won’t meet again until Aug. 23.
Sandoval said he was satisfied that the selection process was proper. He also noted that Nevada has some preferences for Nevada firms competing for contracts, but that the provisions did not come into play to the selection process.
If there was a tie, for example, then a Nevada firm would get the nod, but there was no tie in this case.
“I’m confident in the process,” Sandoval said after the vote. “I think that it was a well-vetted process that was consistent with what the state has always done. It was consistent with the law. There was a committee that was comprised of both private sector experts in the area as well as experts within the state of Nevada that fairly graded each of the applicants.”