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RTC executive director set to retire next month; board debates replacement process



Lee Gibson, executive director of the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County, is scheduled to retire in December after more than 10 years on the job.

Gibson is credited with reducing agency expenses by more than 30 percent, along with restructuring the transit system to reduce operating costs, increasing customer satisfaction, improving on-time performance, and starting the RTC RAPID bus project.

RAPID is a quicker transit service on South Virginia Street between downtown Reno and Meadowood Mall. It includes level boarding stations with amenities. Its technology allows bus drivers to communicate with traffic signals to extend green times to accommodate buses.

Amy Cummings. Photo: RTC

RTC board members on Friday appointed deputy executive director Amy Cummings as interim executive director effective Dec. 6. Gibson picked her for the deputy post 1 1/2 years ago. She had been RTC’s planning director since 2010.

“In my belief, she exceeds the qualifications of the current job description and has led many important initiatives, such as the shared federal framework and our metropolitan planning process,” Gibson said.

The board agreed to increase Cummings’ salary by 10 percent once she takes over the interim role. Her current salary as of last year was about $175,000, according to Transparent Nevada. Gibson’s was approximately $258,000.

Several board members suggested a transparent process for finding a permanent executive director. Options included hiring a search firm, hiring Cummings or advertising locally.

“Let’s see who is on our local roster,” County Commissioner Vaughn Hartung said. “It might just surprise us.”

Sparks Mayor Ron Smith said it makes more sense to spend money on training, which gets people ready to come up through the ranks, than to spend money on an outside search firm. He said that’s worked well in Sparks, which has promoted its last few police and fire chiefs from within.

“We do a recruitment and if she (Cummings) wins, we’ve wasted staff time and consultant time,” Smith said.

The board ultimately decided to direct RTC human resources staff to compile and distribute materials related to the position and to bring back more information to the board at its December meeting.

Carla O'Day
Carla O'Day
Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.