The city of Las Vegas is a council-manager form of government, combining the strong political leadership of elected officials with the strong managerial experience of an appointed city manager. All policy rests with the City Council, with the city manager charged with running the day-to-day operations of the organization.
The City Manager's Office is responsible for the effective administration and operation of all municipal services for the city of Las Vegas. In addition, the office oversees all redevelopment and economic development. The office is overseen by City Manager Elizabeth N. Fretwell and Deputy City Manager Orlando Sanchez as well as Chief Urban Redevelopment Officer Scott D. Adams, Chief Financial Officer Mark R. Vincent and Chief Officer of Public Safety Karen Coyne. The City Manager's staff also tracks the progress of various projects, monitors the day-to-day activities of city departments and maintains intergovernmental relationships with the federal, state and other local governments. The office also oversees the city's diversity and community relations programs.
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City Manager Elizabeth N. Fretwell
City Manager Betsy Fretwell was sworn in as city manager in 2009, just as the organization was beginning to feel the effects of the “great recession” on the Las Vegas economy. To help weather that storm and ensure the city would rebound once the economy recovered, Ms. Fretwell introduced a major initiative to the city, “Fundamental Service Review.” By using performance management and performance based budgeting, community engagement, sustainability and program reductions, the city began to bring expenses in line with declining revenues. Through her work and the work of her team, the city was able to come to new agreements with all four of its unions (representing 90 percent of all employees) saving $36 million over the subsequent two fiscal years and helping avert hundreds of additional layoffs. Ms. Fretwell also oversaw a large reorganization, which saves more than $7.2 million annually in taxpayer money and reduced management and administration positions by a total of 25 percent. Overall, the total general fund budget was reduced by 20 percent over her first two years. Within the first three years, Ms. Fretwell managed to reduce the structural deficit of the city by more than 80 percent and laid the foundation to bring the city budget back in balance at 2005 revenue levels.
Ms. Fretwell oversees a dynamic organization, which has nearly 3,000 employees and a budget of $1.5 billion. She also serves as the executive director of the Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency, charged with the economic revitalization of downtown Las Vegas. Some of the major projects that have come to fruition during her tenure include Zappos.com, Inc. moving its corporate headquarters to the current City Hall site, and the development of several projects on 61 acres downtown including The Smith Center for the Performing Arts and the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. As well, Betsy was instrumental in the construction of a new city hall and renovation of a development services center, well over 400,000 sq.ft. of government office space. Additionally, three major museums opened in 2012 in the downtown area fueling cultural tourism growth.
Ms. Fretwell has an extensive background in local government. She joined the city of Las Vegas in June 2000 as assistant city manager and was promoted to deputy city manager in March 2002. Prior to joining the city of Las Vegas, Ms. Fretwell held the position of intergovernmental relations director for the city of Henderson, Nevada, and prior to that she worked for Clark County as the strategic issues manager, where she was involved in extensive public policy, legislative lobbying and organizational analysis.
Ms. Fretwell was inducted as a fellow into the National Academy of Public Administration in November 2012. She currently serves as past president of the Local Government Managers Association of Nevada (LOGMAN) and is a credentialed member of the International City/County Management Association and was on the nominating committee in 2009. She served as chairman of the Nevada Public Radio board of directors from 2010 to 2012 and is currently chair of the Community Advisory Board. She previously served as a member on the Nevada Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) board and the Governor’s Commission on Medical Education, Research and Training.
In 2013, Ms. Fretwell received the National Public Service Award from the American Society for Public Administration and the National Academy of Public Administration. She was honored in 2011 as the Woman of the Year by The Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada, recognized in 2010 by the Sierra Club with the Southern Nevada Environmental Stewardship Award and named as a Woman to Watch in 2009 by In Business Las Vegas. She is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a bachelors degree in political science and a masters degree in public administration. She completed the Harvard University Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program in 2007.
Deputy City Manager Orlando Sanchez
Orlando Sanchez was appointed deputy city manager in May 2006. He currently oversees the departments of Operations and Maintenance and Public Works.
Prior to being named deputy city manager, Orlando served as the Neighborhood Services Department director, where he spearheaded many key, innovative plans and programs such as the 10-year Plan to end Homelessness; the Homeownership For Educators Program to assist teachers with housing costs; the Abandoned and Vacant Buildings Program to eliminate visible blight in neighborhoods; the EVOLVE Program to reintegrate ex-felons into productive lives; and a pilot program to help chronic inebriates.
Orlando has significant knowledge and experience with the city dating back to 1988, when he served as a management analyst with the then Department of Economic and Urban Development. As a Development Officer in Economic and Urban Development, he worked to promote and develop the Las Vegas Technology Center, the Spectrum of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Enterprise Park that brought jobs to where people lived, to reinvigorate economically lagging areas and cut commute times. Since then, he has demonstrated his versatility and progressive leadership style with several departments in the city. As a facilities manager, he saved the city substantial money by standardizing and streamlining operations. His experience also includes work on the city’s long-term, comprehensive facility master plan.
Prior to joining the city of Las Vegas, Orlando served in the private sector as a branch manager for a financial institution. A native of Belen, New Mexico, Mr. Sanchez graduated from New Mexico State University with a bachelor’s degree in economics and later received a masters degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix. In 2005, he was recognized as the “Emerging Public Administrator of the Year” by the American Society for Public Administration.
Deputy City Manager Scott D. Adams
Scott D. Adams was appointed to the newly-created position of chief urban redevelopment officer in April 2009. In this position, Mr. Adams oversees the departments of Planning, Building and Safety, Economic and Urban Development, and Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services. He also oversees the Office of Cultural Affairs.
Adams previously served as the director of the city’s Office of Business Development (now Economic and Urban Development) as well as the operations officer for the city’s Redevelopment Agency.
Prior to joining the city, Mr. Adams held numerous positions in the field of urban economic development including those with Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission, the city of Fort Lauderdale, the New Orleans Medical Center and the Jacksonville Downtown Development Authority, to name just a few.
During his career Mr. Adams has been instrumental in significant change in each community he has worked in through extensive involvement in master planning, public-private partnerships, and business attraction and development. He has worked with some of the largest businesses and developers in America.
Hailing from Michigan, Mr. Adams is an Urban Planning graduate from Michigan State University, where he was given the American Institute of Planners Award as the top graduate. In 2012, he earned the Credentialed Manager designation from the International City /County Management Association. Mr. Adams is a frequent guest lecturer and is on the board of and a certified economic developer with the International Economic Development Council. He is currently a member of the Urban Land Institute and a past member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.
Chief Financial Officer Mark R. Vincent
Mark R. Vincent was appointed chief financial officer in December 2010. Prior to that appointment, Mr. Vincent was the director of Finance and Business Services for the city of Las Vegas from 1998 through 2010, with the exception of a brief period beginning in December 2008 when he served as acting deputy city manager until a permanent deputy city manager was hired. He is currently responsible for the departments of Finance, Human Resources and Information Technology as well as the City Clerk. He has played a key role in the city’s evolution towards enterprise business solutions, strategic business planning and performance metrics, and the transition from the “hired-to-perform” approach of accounting to the “job-based” approach.
Prior to his employment with the city of Las Vegas, Mr. Vincent served 17 years with several Department of Energy prime contractors. He was employed by EG&G Energy Measurements, Inc. for 13 years, seven of which were as treasurer and director of finance. He also worked two years for EG&G Reynolds Electrical and Engineering Company, Inc. as its manager of the Finance and Management Control Department, and for two years with Bechtel Nevada as its business systems manager. All three of these contractors supported the weapons testing program at the Nevada Test Site.
Mr. Vincent serves on two governmental committees. He was appointed to serve as a member of the Public Employees’ Retirement Board for the state of Nevada by then Governor Jim Gibbons in April 2009, and has served as vice-chairman of the board from July 2009 to present. He was also appointed by the Nevada League of Cities in December 2010 to serve on the Committee on Local Government Finance as created by the Nevada Legislature.
Mr. Vincent has been a licensed certified public accountant in the state of Nevada since 1981. He worked for national certified public accounting firms specializing in casino audits prior to his Nevada Test Site employment.
A 46-year resident of Las Vegas, Mr. Vincent is a 1978 graduate of the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with distinction.
Chief Officer of Public Safety Karen Coyne
Chief Coyne provides senior executive oversight for the departments of Detention and Enforcement and Fire and Rescue, as well as executive coordination with the judges and administration of the Las Vegas Municipal Court. These two departments and the court comprise a contingent of 1,140 dedicated public safety first responders and criminal justice professionals who are responsible for delivering services and offering programs to the Las Vegas community in a variety of disciplines including law enforcement, corrections, fire, bomb and hazardous materials, criminal justice, traffic court and offender compliance. All of which is managed through an annual operating budget of more than $200 million.
As the former chief of the Department of Detention and Enforcement, Karen has served in a variety of progressively responsible law enforcement roles during her 19 year tenure with the city.
Chief Coyne is a proud graduate of the 208th session of the FBI National Academy, the Southwest Command College and she possesses an Executive Certificate issued by the Nevada Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission. Chief Coyne has earned a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the University of Phoenix and an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice from the College of Southern Nevada.
Chief Coyne presently serves on the boards of the Nevada Sheriff’s and Chief’s Association, Nevada Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission and she is a past president of the American Society for Public Administration - Southern Nevada Chapter.