Las Vegas Sun

July 31, 2014

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Rail loses money, executives rake it in

Monorail has never turned a profit, but you wouldn’t know it by leaders’ salaries

Sen. Terry Care canceled a hearing Tuesday on a bill to find out how much executives at the Las Vegas Monorail Co. earn, after monorail officials voluntarily released their salary information.

Though the transit line has yet to turn a profit, its financial troubles haven’t hurt executives’ personal earnings. According to the monorail’s Form 990 for 2007:

• President and Chief Executive Curtis Myles was paid $339,000. He works a 50-hour week, according to the document.

• Ross Johnson, the chief financial officer, earned $152,250.

• Vice President and Director of Operations Lloyd Welch was paid $116,389.

• Ingrid Reisman, a vice president, was paid $139,200.

Company directors, which included several prominent figures, were paid $60,000 in 2007. Among the directors were government and political consultant Terry Murphy, former Nevada Power executive Pat Shalmy and gaming attorney Bob Faiss.

The privately financed transit line has never turned a profit and has consistently fallen short of the revenue projections used to sell it to bondholders, who largely underwrote its construction.

Care, a Las Vegas Democrat, is keeping Senate Bill 198 alive, but said he currently has no plans to push for its passage.

•••

The Governor’s Mansion isn’t used as much as it has been in past administrations — given the first couple is divorcing. But it still requires three and a half state workers to keep it running, State Budget Director Andrew Clinger told the Senate Finance Committee this week.

Sen. Bob Coffin, D-Las Vegas, questioned how much the mansion is used considering the Gibbonses’ marital situation. Gov. Jim Gibbons filed for divorce from first lady Dawn Gibbons in May.

But Clinger called the mansion “the primary residence” of the governor. The governor also spends a good deal of time at his home in Reno, which the couple have been trying to sell since last year.

The first lady stays in a house adjoining the mansion.

During legislative sessions, the mansion is used for cocktail parties sponsored by various lobbying groups.

Lawmakers trimmed the out-of-state travel budget for Dawn Gibbons, from the budgeted $4,400 to $1,350. The first lady’s in-state travel budget will remain $10,880 in each of the coming two fiscal years.

•••

Among the bills introduced Monday, the final day individual legislators could introduce bills, were proposals to pad the pocketbooks of state lawmakers and eliminate term limits for senators and Assembly members.

Sen. Dennis Nolan, R-Las Vegas, sponsored a bill to allow payments of up to $2,500 to reimburse lawmakers for income lost while serving in a regular legislative session.

Senate Bill 299 would also provide reimbursements for vacations interrupted when the governor convenes a special session. Lawmakers would be entitled to the cost of travel if they are outside Nevada when a special session is called. They would also be reimbursed for money lost on airline tickets, vacation packages and tickets to special events.

Legislators are paid for the first 60 days of the regular 120-day session. Those elected or reelected in 2008 earn $146 per day. Holdover senators are paid $136 per day.

During a special session, lawmakers are paid a salary for a maximum of 20 days.

Sen. Maurice Washington, R-Reno, who is serving in his last session because of term limits, introduced a proposed constitutional amendment to eliminate the 12-year maximum a person can serve in each house of the Legislature.

Senate Joint Resolution 10 would have to be passed by this session and the 2011 Legislature and then ratified by the voters in 2012 before it would become effective.

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