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Musical chairs happening at new gay and lesbian center

Local dignitaries and Center staff (including Candice Nichols, second to last on right) christen the new building (COURTESY: ALLYSON LIMON)
Local dignitaries and Center staff (including Candice Nichols, second to last on right) christen the new building (COURTESY: ALLYSON LIMON)

The morning of April 6 was a memorable day for Candice Nichols. That morning, she oversaw the grand opening and ribbon cutting of the new Gay and Lesbian Center of Southern Nevada -- aka The Center -- for which she has served as executive director since 2004, and relocated to a renovated downtown building on South Maryland Parkway four times the size of the previous location.

She also was demoted by The Center’s Board of Directors from her executive director role to a new position titled Senior Director of Programs and Community Partnerships. 

According to the press release, Nichols will “oversee the strategic expansion of existing Center programs and services while implementing new initiatives, making it possible for The Center to sustain its vital presence in the community. She will identify, develop and advance current and new partnerships with other community organizations and public services on both local and national levels. Nichols will lead all Center staff who administer the programs and services of The Center.”

She is being replaced by an Interim Executive Director, Tom Kovach, the former president of the board and head of The Center’s campaign to raise $4 million for the new building. A search has begun for a permanent executive director.

Word of her position change actually began before Saturday’s big event, which was attended by Mayor Carolyn Goodman, U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, Councilman Bob Coffin and, according to The Center, nearly 1,000 community members. The facility hosted a gala dinner for its biggest donors and supporters on April 5, where in-the-know attendees were already openly discussing the transition.

Nichols, a native Las Vegan and one of CityLife’s 2012 Local Heroes, has a long history of working with southern Nevada nonprofits, such as Planned Parenthood and Aid for AIDS Nevada. Besides her community outreach work and implementation of services at The Center that benefit youth, transgender and senior members of the local LGBTQ populace, she has led lobbying efforts in Carson City, including a successful push to legalize domestic partnerships in 2009, and a trip to the Legislature two weeks ago to argue for Senate Joint Resolution 13, which would kickstart the long process of amending the state constitution to repeal Nevada’s ban on same-sex marriages.