Thom Reilly

Thom Reilly

DTPHX Campus
DTPHX Campus


Dr. Thom Reilly is a Professor in the School of Public Affairs at Arizona State University (ASU).  He is the former Chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) where he served as chief executive officer and oversaw, under the authority of an elected board of regents, a complex system that includes R-1 research universities, four-year undergraduate institutions, a research institute and community colleges. During his tenure, he has accumulated an impressive record on multiple measurable dimensions of success centered on increased accessibility, student success and expanded workforce training and education.

Prior to his appointment, he served as director of the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University.  He currently is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and professor emeritus at San Diego State University.

He previously served as County Manager for Clark County (the Las Vegas Valley), where he provided both regional and municipal-type services. As CEO, he was responsible for the fiscal management of the Countys $5.8 billion budget and administrative oversight of close to 12,000 employees. During his tenure he was known for innovative governance practices including instituting increased transparency in the budgeting process, creating a host of citizen involvement/engagement activities; establishing a pay-for performance compensation system for employees;  and championing regional governance efforts.

Reilly has extensive experience in the private sector, serving as managing principal of The Reilly Group, a management consulting firm and as Executive Director for the Caesars Foundation. He has also held senior administrative positions with the State of Nevada overseeing the statewide child welfare system.

Reilly has authored numerous published works on public pay and benefits, governance, and child welfare. He and his work have appeared on NPR's "Here and Now," PBS NewsHour, CNN Money, ABC World News, This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Fox Business News, and in the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Law 360, Governing, Businessweek and The Associated Press. He is co-editor of the Ethics, Corruption and Governance Series for Rowman & Littlefield Lexington Books, and serves of the Editorial Board for the academic journal Public Personnel Management.

His recent books, "The Failure of Governance in Bell, California: Big-Time Corruption in a Small Town" (published by Lexington Book) was released in 2016; and "Rethinking Public Sector Compensation: What Ever Happened to the Public Interest?" (published by M.E. Sharpe, Inc.) was released in summer 2012. His edited volumes, "Pensions: Policies, New Reforms and Current Challenges," released in 2014, looks at pensions from a global perspective; and "The Governance of Local Communities: Global Perspectives and Challenges" was released in 2017.

He received his master's and doctorate of public administration from the University of Southern California. He earned his master of social work at ASU and a bachelor in social work from the University of Memphis.





Thom Reilly received his master's and doctorate of public administration from the University of Southern California. He earned his master of social work at ASU and a bachelor in social work from the University of Memphis.

Google Scholar

Research Interests

Public Administration

Public Management

Human Resource Management


Child Welfare

Public Pay & Benefits


Recent Publications

Salit, J. & Reilly, T (2020). Can the Independent Voter Save American Democracy? In  Orr, D; Becker, B.; Gumbel, A; and Kuttner, B. (editors).  Democracy Unchained: How to Rebuild Government for the People. New Press Publishing.

Reilly, T. (2020). Sick Leave Policies in the Public Sector. In Faramand A. (eds).Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance. Springer, Cham.

Reilly, T. & Singla, A. (2017). Union Business Leave (UBL) practices in large U.S. municipalities: An exploratory study.  Public  Personnel Management, 46 (4), 342- 367.

Coordes, L. & Reilly, T. (2017). Predictors of municipal bankruptcies and state intervention programs: An exploratory study. Kentucky Law Journal, 105 (3), 493-562.

Reilly, T. (2017). Editor. The Governance of Local Communities: Global Perspectives and Challenges. Happauge, New York: Nova Science Publishers

Reilly, T . (2016). The Failure of Governance in Bell, California: Big Time Corruption in a Small Town.  Lanham, Maryland:  Lexington Books: An Imprint of The Rowan Littlefield Publishing Group.

Reilly, T. (2016). Are social enterprises viable models for funding nonprofits? Human Service Organizations:                        Management, Leadership & Governance. 

Reilly, T. & Thom, M. (2015). Local government sick-leave practices: An exploratory study. Review of Public Personnel Administration, 37 (4), 492-510.

Thom, M. & Reilly, T (2015). Compensation benchmarking practices in U.S. local   governments: Results of a national survey. Public Personnel Management, 44 (3), 340-355.


See CV under Bio or go to for a complete listing of publications


Spring 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
PAF 300Public Management and Admin
PAF 507Public Human Resource Mgmt
Fall 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
PAF 523The City and County Manager
PAF 591Seminar


  • Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) - 2019 to present.  Appointed by Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval

  • Public Personnel Management - Editorial Board June 2020 to present

  • Nevada Financial Literacy Council  Member - Appointed by the Nevada Legislature – 2019 to present.

  • National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA), Fellow (2005 - Present)

  • Clean The World, Board Member (2014 - 2018)
  • Nevada Supreme Court Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Welfare, Board Member (2014 - 2018)
  • Gay & Lesbian Aliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)– Board member; Executive Committee 2008- 2013. Secretary, 2010, Board Chairman 2012
  • Transition Team for Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak 2018 

  • Southern Nevada Sporting Event Committee 2017 to 2018 . Appointed by Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval

  • Children’s Advocacy Alliance – President 2011- 2014

  • Public Administration Review (PAR) Journal – Editorial Board 2003-2010

  • Administration in Social Work Journal – Editorial Board 2003 to 2013