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RSCVA board debates non-discrimination & harassment policy

By Carla O'Day
Published: Last Updated on

The Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority board on Thursday discussed how complaints against its chief executives should be dealt with in the future and directed its attorney to draft some policy language.

The RSCVA’s harassment and non-discrimination guidelines do not currently address how employee complaints against the president and chief executive officer are handled. Discussion comes after the alleged misconduct of former president and CEO Phil DeLone.

Molly Rezac, an RSCVA attorney, said it’s not as easy as contacting human resources.

“In the organizational chart, human resources reports to the CEO and that can be cause for concern if the complaint is against the person they report to,” Rezac said.

The CEO reports to the board of directors.

DeLone, 61, announced in mid February that he would step down due to a “serious medical condition” he learned about in December, but didn’t offer specifics about his health in his resignation letter. The board accepted his resignation at its late February meeting.

Rezac drafted some language that stated employees could take complaints against the CEO to their supervisors, who would then notify the board’s chair or vice chair to determine proper avenues once the entire board is notified. Options could include placing the CEO on administrative leave or directing an investigation.

Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve
Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve

Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve, who sits on the board, described the current process as “very fragmented” and suggested employees be able to contact any board member.

“The issue I have, let’s say during the Phil DeLone situation, I was getting complaints into my office and they were coming in and they floated out there to nowhere land,” said Schieve, noting her complaint to legal “went nowhere.”

RSCVA board Chairman Bob Lucey, a Washoe County commissioner, said the process shouldn’t be a long, laborious one. He suggested complaints against the CEO go to legal counsel and into an attorney-client situation with the board being notified.

Board member Ann Silver, CEO of the Reno Sparks Chamber of Commerce, said she’d like to see policy language that states complaints will be dealt with in a timely manner, so it’s not months before an investigation occurs and action can be taken.

DeLone was hired through a national search in November 2016 and began his tenure with the RSCVA in early 2017. He started then with a $250,000 annual salary and $750 vehicle allowance. He received positive annual reviews and got cost-of-living raises, along with netting six-figure bonuses for meeting agency goals.

The RSCVA is currently in the process of searching for a new CEO.

The board is expected to vote on language concerning harassment and non-discrimination in regards to future CEOs at its June meeting.

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