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Benjamin Spillman

Vegas Convention Center exec resigns

3 February 2009

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- A Las Vegas convention authority official who was in charge of an $890 million renovation of the Las Vegas Convention Center has retired.

The official, E. James Gans, told Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority President and CEO Rossi Ralenkotter last week of his decision to retire, which becomes effective today.

"It is a personal, family matter and we respect that," authority spokesman Vince Alberta said of the reason for the short time between Gans' decision and his departure.

Gans, whose title was senior vice president, was unavailable for comment.

Authority board Chairman and Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman said the position, for which Gans was paid nearly $183,000 annually, will be filled despite a hiring freeze at the taxpayer-funded agency.

"Hiring freezes don't have anything to do with high level personnel, people who are necessary," Goodman said.

Gans, a 58-year resident of Southern Nevada, started working with the authority in 1999 as vice president of administration.

In recent years Gans led the authority's efforts to renovate the convention center, a project proponents say is needed to keep pace with convention venues in Chicago, Phoenix, Orlando, Fla., and elsewhere.

Opponents say the project is an unnecessary use of taxpayer money because privately run convention centers now carry much of the load for Las Vegas and the biggest convention center customers can't easily move their shows.

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