Regents block county commissioner from getting prestigious award

In an unusual 7-6 vote, the regents voted today against suspending a rule barring them from honoring sitting elected officials, thus preventing Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani from getting a Distinguished Nevadan award.

Giunchigliani had been nominated by Regent Jack Schofield for the most prestigious honor the regents can confer, one a slew of politicians have received after they left office.

The regents had to vote to suspend the rule, which would have taken two-thirds, and fell badly short. Regents Kevin Page, Cedric Crear, Allison Stephens, Mark Doubrava, Robert Blakely and Schofield voted to suspend the rule.

Giunchigliani got the "She's great BUT" treatment from nearly all, but one dissenter, James Dean Leavitt, thought it a good idea to remind his colleagues that one reason for the rule was to avoid honoring folks who, such as some past commissioners, went to prison. Lovely.

The rest of the nominees -- longtime lobbyist Keith Lee; businessman Monte Miller and his wife, Susan; community leaders Mike and Sonja Saltman; former Rep. Jim Santini; and three former regents, Ray Rawson, Carolyn Sparks and Bret Whipple -- all were approved for the honor.