CMU administrator picked for gambling commission

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Gov. Ed Rendell yesterday named Sanford D. Rivers, Carnegie Mellon University's former chief labor negotiator and a National Football League official, as the second of three members he will appoint to the state's new gambling commission.

Rivers, 61, of Churchill, who has worked at Carnegie Mellon for 34 years, is now assistant vice president of enrollment after handling labor negotiations and student and faculty grievances for years. He has also been an NFL line official since 1989 after officiating at the high school and college levels.

"Sanford Rivers' name at Carnegie Mellon is synonymous with incorruptibility," Rendell said in a statement released yesterday. "Sanford will help ensure that the right people get gaming licenses and that the Pennsylvania gaming industry is respected throughout the country for its incorruptibility and commitment to excellence."

Rivers said Rendell first told him more than a week ago that he was being considered for the gambling commission. He said the governor told him he respected Rivers' varied work career, and the fact that National Football League rules prohibit officials from even entering a casino.

Rivers said the appointment "came as a big surprise."

"I will try to get people to reach a consensus," he said. "The thing that I think makes [the commission's job] tough is that the only benchmarks we have are from other states and how they do it. We have no benchmarks for gambling in Pennsylvania."

Rivers said he is prepared to serve full time on the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, something Rendell wants his appointees to do. The appointment is for a two-year term.

Rendell must make his third appointment by Sept. 4. Legislative leaders also have two remaining seats to fill.

Already named to the seven-member board are:

Frank Friel, former Philadelphia police officer who supervised the task force that took down "Little Nicky" Scarfo's mob organization.

Bill Conaboy, general counsel and corporate compliance officer for the Clarks Summit-based Allied Services, a nonprofit health care and human services provider to the elderly and disabled in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Joseph W. Marshall III, chairman and chief executive of the Temple University Health System and a former chairman of the state Ethics Commission.

Pennsylvania's new gambling law allows as many as 61,000 slot machines at 14 gambling halls. Nearly half of the gambling revenues are to be used to lower the residential property taxes that pay for public schools by about 20 percent.

Staff writer Steve Levin contributed to this article.


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