Brenda Scolari wasn’t as surprised as everyone when Lt. Gov. Kate Marshall announced last month that she was stepping down and taking a job in President Joe Biden’s administration in Washington, DC.
Marshall had warned Scolari, the director of the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, that she was going to leave. This departure became official on Friday.
Marshall did not attend the Nevada Tourism Commission board meeting on Friday. Normally she chaired the meeting, but on Friday that job fell to Vice President Cynthia Mun, a retired strategic marketer who lives in Las Vegas and worked for Tropicana and MGM Resorts International.
Scolari said she has full confidence in the commission and that her department will not skip a beat with Marshall’s departure.
Marshall couldn’t have left at a worse time.
The state’s tourism initiatives, which operate under the Travel Nevada brand, are preparing to market winter tours. Historically, this has meant encouraging residents of neighboring states and residents of more populous southern Nevada to come for winter sports experiences at Lake Tahoe.
Tahoe is one of those year-round recreational destinations, but winter is especially important as skiing is a major draw. The beauty of the Lake Tahoe area is breathtaking and people will come from all over the world to see this beauty.
Many Las Vegans flocked to the area in February when the Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche played a also televised National Hockey League outdoor game on a fairway at Edgewood-Tahoe Golf Course in edge of the lake. It is on the same course that the American Century Celebrity Championship is played every summer with athletes and artists.
But the beauty of the course was secondary in the week leading up to the recent Labor Day weekend, one of the most popular times for people to take the Tahoe trek.
On the Friday before Labor Day weekend, Carol Chaplin, president and CEO of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, estimated that businesses in the area would lose $ 40.4 million in revenue as a result of the Caldor’s fire sweeping across South Lake Tahoe from California.
Authorities on Lake Tahoe have urged people to stay away from the area so that firefighters can use the area’s resources and save the city from the oncoming flames.
“In all minds”
Now, Lake Tahoe needs a vigorous winter season to recoup some of the losses suffered in the fire.
Surprisingly, no one said anything about the fires when the commissioners met on Friday. Mun attributed this to rules in the Nevada Open Meetings Act that prohibit taking action on items not specifically mentioned on the committee’s agenda.
“Even though we didn’t talk about it, I’m sure everyone thought it was,” Mun said in an interview.
The story of the recovery on Friday centered on the federal grants the state received to help the tourism industry recover from the damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state received $ 13.65 million in federal grants from the United States Economic Development Administration’s US Rescue Plan for tourism and outdoor recreation.
An NCOT committee divided that money for various projects, including $ 150,000 for recreation planning managed by Tahoe Meadows, and the committee officially approved it by a unanimous vote.
The first time she was leading it, Mun conducted the committee meeting as if she had already done so. How long she will continue to do so is in question because Mun is nearing the end of her three-year term in December. She was appointed to the commission by former Gov. Brian Sandoval and Marshall chose her as vice-chair.
It is unclear whether Gov. Steve Sisolak plans to replace Marshall or if he will leave the post vacant until November 2022, when voters can choose a replacement.
Scolari and Mun don’t know what the governor is planning. Scolari and the tourism industry will have the governor’s ear because his post is a cabinet-level post. Mun said she was ready to continue – or quit.
“Basically I’m a facilitator and always try to keep Nevada’s best interests in mind at all times,” Mun said. “I could never replace Kate Marshall and the work she did, but I am here to serve.”