Red, White and Tahoe Blue chairman Jim Smith resigns after 7 years
July 13, 2015
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — On Monday, Jim Smith announced his resignation as chairman of Red, White and Tahoe Blue.
Smith first joined the nonprofit RWTB board in 2008. Nine months later, he was elected to serve as volunteer chairman, a position he would hold for the next seven years.
In a letter emailed Monday to board members and residents, Smith credited the success of the Fourth of July-themed event to "the collaborative efforts of all our community civil organizations such as North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District, Washoe County, and IVGID…"
"You are all exceptional in your work ethic, kindness and commitment," Smith wrote.
In a Wednesday interview, Smith said he's stepping down to focus more on his family; his growing company, Service Scouts; and his responsibilities as chairman on the Incline Village General Improvement District board of trustees.
During his tenure, Smith worked to bring RWTB — which celebrated its ninth season this past weekend — to new heights, even when it garnered criticisms.
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Smith said he has learned many lessons, and sometimes doing what he believed to be best for the community wasn't always met with high praise.
"Sometimes people don't understand what it takes, and you have to do what is best for an entire community," Smith said Wednesday. "It's a huge responsibility."
Tom Bruno, RWTB's original chairman, was one of the first people to respond to Smith's Monday email. He wrote how he can perhaps empathize with Smith better than anyone.
"There is a lot of pressure to make sure it's going well and done right," Bruno said in a follow-up interview. "I had to spend a lot of time making sure things were taken care of; however, I had seven other people who were digging really hard."
Bruno acknowledged that some criticisms were lodged against Smith, as well as himself, when their vision for the event didn't always coincide with that of the community-at-large.
"I don't agree with everything that Jim has done in the organization, but I believe he has done a fantastic job, and that's the bottom line," Bruno said. "Jim has some very great talents, and I think he demonstrated those with (RWTB)."
For example, as the Incline Village fireworks event grew larger, Bruno noted that community concerns existed about lake water waste removal, "but people didn't know the fire department was out there on the lake the following day picking up shells from fireworks."
"It's not a static event; you try things and certain things don't work, so you change it next year," Bruno said. "You always want to try something new and try to make it more exciting."
Smith said he believes RWTB has continued to grow under his watch, highlighted by improved customer service and better dissemination of information.
As for what's next, the RWTB board will schedule a meeting in the next two months to determine how to select a new board chairman, Smith said.
Visit redwhitetahoeblue.org to learn more.
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