TRPA selection turns down offer |

TRPA selection turns down offer

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s choice for leader of the bistate regulatory authority turned down its offer.

Gregory James, attorney and director of the Inyo County Water Department, was selected by the TRPA’s governing board as the most qualified applicant in the search for an executive director. He was offered the position April 26, and declined Tuesday to take the $100,000-a-year post.

“He said he was unable to accept the position due to family responsibilities,” Michele Chouinard, TRPA’s human resources manager, said. “We’re terribly disappointed. He was a wonderful applicant.”

James could not be reached for comment.

Larry Sevison, chairman of the 14-member board, said he has called for an emergency board meeting to reconsider the situation.

“I was terribly disappointed. This is just a further delay, and we’re running out of people,” he said.

Sevison said the board could take more time to consider new applicants or look at the two candidates who also surfaced as top candidates in the pool of more than 100 applicants.

Bill Allayaud, principal planner for Salt Lake City, and Pamela Wilcox, a Carson City resident and administrator of Nevada state lands, were the other two finalists.

“It’s pretty much up in the air, what the board might do,” Sevison said. “But there is some emergency in getting a decision made.”

The TRPA could be without leadership if the board fails to hire an executive director by May 26 when acting Executive Director Jerry Wells, who was a top 10 finalist in the executive director search, leaves for a position in Oregon.

Wells has been acting as director since January when Jim Baetge, who served as TRPA’s leader for five years, resigned for health reasons.

Baetge earned $85,000 year as executive director of the bistate regulatory authority. The TRPA board agreed to raise that salary to $100,000 when it selected James as its top choice.

Sevison said he believes money wasn’t the reason James refused the position.

“We solved the money problem,” he said. “I think it was strictly a personal decision on his part.”

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