Las Vegas Sun

January 30, 2015

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North Las Vegas announces proposal to cut 251 jobs

North Las Vegas officials announced a proposal Wednesday night to eliminate 251 full-time jobs over the next two fiscal years, including 33 firefighters and 93 positions at the police department.

The proposal, which was presented by Acting City Manager Maryann Ustick, included a 15 percent reduction in jobs across the city’s fire and police departments — groups that, until recently, had escaped the chopping block.

If the proposal is adopted, 27 police officer positions paid by the city would be cut, although the city recently received a federal grant to retain 16 of those 27.

Altogether, 93 full-time positions — 18 of which are vacant — within the police department would be cut, saving the city about $9.1 million.

The cuts will make the code enforcement team “reactionary” to citizen complaints rather than “proactive” because there won’t be enough officers available to look for infractions, Ustick said.

As Ustick announced that 33 firefighters would likely lose their jobs if no further concessions are made by their union, a loud crack of thunder boomed outside the council chambers.

“I don’t think the fire chief arranged for that,” Ustick said.

Public Works also would shed employees, including 30 Teamsters. Eight other positions iwould be left vacant, saving the city about $4.2 million.

The impact of the reductions would likely be noticed around the city, Ustick said. For example, it used to take the city 24 hours to repair damage to streetlights. As the result of cuts already made, it now takes seven days.

Ustick said the finance department could see a reduction of six positions, including two that already are vacant, cutting the department to the bone. “We can’t go below this level,” she said.

This fiscal year — July 1 to June 30 — the city must reduce its budget by about $10 million. Before June 2012, the city will have to cut about $35.1 million from its budget.

Each year, the city is required to present a balanced budget to the state.

Other proposed cuts to the budget included reductions in service, leaving open vacant positions and consolidating city departments, such as the city clerk and city manager’s offices.

Wednesday’s 4:30 p.m. special City Council meeting lasted about an hour — cut short by a power outage.

During that time, the council heard from Ustick and Acting Finance Director Al Noyola about the city’s budget problems and possible solutions.

Dozens of members of the Teamsters Union attended the meeting but did not have a chance to speak before the power outage. Many of the layoffs proposed Wednesday night were for Teamster-held positions.

The city laid off 188 city employees in June to cut costs. None of those positions were in public safety.

The city is in ongoing talks with the Teamsters, firefighters and police unions about where budget cuts can be made to avoid layoffs. Items on the regular City Council agenda were deferred to the Nov. 3 meeting.

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  1. NRS-288 *must* be changed to remove the requirement to recognize collective bargaining groups. Get rid of public sector unions. Pay cuts, as hard as they are to accept, are better than loss of services and more people adding to the rolls of the unemployment, taking even MORE resources we don't have.

  2. Yes, all of us can Union Bash but it's not completely the Unions' fault. The problem arrives when the Politicians agree to Union demands in bargainning. When the economy was roaring, the Politicians agreed to anything because that gave them votes. Now, the economy is bad and the ax must fall. You should blame the State Legislature at the same time for creating Nevada Revised Statute (NRS)288.150 which mandates that local governments must bargain with Unions including Teachers' Unions. If you want change, tell your representatives to either ammend NRS 288.150 so that local governments don't have to bargain for pay and benefits or rescind the statute altogether. Then hide and watch what they do. I'll bet they do nothing.

  3. I wonder when the economy picks up what will people think where did there service go to.

  4. Well, it's about time!

    There are way too many police cars patrolling (wasting fuel) in NLV. Sure the donut shops are happy...

    And all these overpaid firemen stop traffic with those big, ugly firetrucks, every time they cross intersections.

    What's the big hurry? The fire will still be burning, when they get there! Geez!

    And hey! Don't even get me started on all the noise from those sirens and bullhorns!

    Yep. A little at a time...things are getting better. You go, North Las Vegas!!!

  5. Wow, boftx is against collective bargaining? Shocker, since boftx is against any type of government employment that would allow a Nevada citizen to feed their family while serving their fellow citizen.

    Typical Republican Race to the Bottom social engineering. Everyone and everything in Nevada needs to be of the least quality so big business can rape our state over and over without even paying what should have been their fair share of taxes BEFORE the economy went down under President Bush. Less safety, less security, lower quality of life, no benefits for private or public employees, and more union bashing. Perfect cocktail for social unrest-that's what the Republicans are baking in the oven for America while their own party is about to go to war with itself after 11/2/10.

    Makes me sick how some people are just swallowing the lies that the Republicans are dishing out and then regurgitating it like its fact. Next thing they'll do is agree with Angle that abortion causes breast cancer. Bunch'a nuts.

  6. I am against public sector collective bargaining. I've always said that unions are a legitimate part of the private sector.

    Governments need to be able to respond to economic conditions quickly, and the public unions don't allow that.

    Just look at this story, instead of making pay cuts, they are laying people off. This reduces services, effectively raising the price that we, the taxpayers pay as individuals for those remaining. The people who are laid off go on unemployment, and probably require social services, which are already underfunded, and that makes the budget problems even worse.

    Traditionally, the public sector offered better benefits at a lower wage and job security when compared to the private sector. But over time, thanks to public unions, the pay rates exceed those of the private sector and benefits were better still. So now, when times got tough, we all got hit harder than necessary.

    It's very simple, as a taxpayer I want to receive fair value for what I pay. Public unions don't deliver that.

  7. There are way too many police cars patrolling (wasting fuel) in NLV. Sure the donut shops are happy...

    And all these overpaid firemen stop traffic with those big, ugly firetrucks, every time they cross intersections.

    What's the big hurry? The fire will still be burning, when they get there! Geez!

    And hey! Don't even get me started on all the noise from those sirens and bullhorns!

    Yep. A little at a time...things are getting better. You go, North Las Vegas!!!

    architect aka Bruce:

    Is your post for real? Or are you being facetious? If it is for real - what an idiot you are. Hope you never need the services of the fire department. Your house deserves to burn down so the fire trucks don't have to block traffic or use their sirens to get there in time.

  8. babyshaker,

    One of the reasons that our grown children moved here quite a few years before us was that Nevada, and Las Vegas in particular, offered the environment and ideas that we find attractive. We followed them here to also enjoy what they had found.

    What I am complaining about is that some of those values that we enjoy so much have been lost sight of. I am a firm believer in allowing people to live their lives with as little interference from others, especially the government, as possible. I want to see Nevada return to and expand that attitude as much as possible. When no other state would even consider gambling Nevada was there with open arms. Same with prostitution.

    Nevada should continue that tradition with legalized pot.

    No, what I complain about is how Nevada is adopting the values of other states that they have always in the past said were wrong.

  9. Skipping all the name calling & insults, I'd like to throw out a suggestion.

    I think a lot of money can be saved by doing what the City of Las Vegas & Clark County did years ago. Merge NLV & Henderson PDs with the LV Metro PD. The same can be done with the ridiculously individual FDs. Merge the Las Vegas City FD, NLV City FD & Henderson FD with the Clark County FD.

    In both consolidations duplication of services could be eliminated & we would wind up with one efficient PD & one efficient FD. We don't need parochial departments. The same can be done with other governmental agencies in the valley, such as separate jail facilities, courts, motor pools, etc. Most governmental agencies can be consolidated into one county agency, eliminating the need to pay separate city & county taxes. This valley isn't too big area-wise & population-wise to preclude these consolidations.

    Private companies are doing similar departmental consolidations across different locations of the same corporation. One of the results has been elimination of duplication of services resulting in tremendous cost savings. I don't see why it wouldn't work with our government departments.
    These consolidations obviously couldn't be completed any time soon. However they can be planned & implemented before the 2012 elections.

    I've been reading these comments on our local governments for many months now & honestly believe that this is a workable solution, as opposed to firing all Firefighters & other, much needed, experienced government employees.
    We need to stop all the hate & other vitriol & come up with real, workable, common sense solutions.

  10. dabosscr,

    Your idea has merit, but the presence of public unions means that all of us would be stuck with a bad contract instead of just the county. NLV has generally been better at negotiations than Clark County has been.

  11. Explanation of architect blog:

    When you start treating protective services, as commodities and community options, it's time to re-evaluate the circumstances.

    How can anyone know a word like "facetious" and not see it in action, as a conceptual tool.

    I guess you've bloggers AND cloggers.

  12. Hi Buddy,

    Good to see you posting again. By the way, I am not retired, and I doubt I will ever be able to be such.

    I understand your position, but please try to understand mine as a taxpayer. Instead of being able to cut costs by reducing pay, our only choice to cut personnel, which reduces service levels, and effectively increases the cost of the services we do retain.

    There has to be a happy medium somewhere.

    I'm going to take the links you offered with a grain of salt for now. You know that I try to be reasonable. But it really does seem that rather than do what was good for both the community and for the members, the unions decided to keep as much as possible and hurt both. At least the City of Las Vegas unions agreed to some cutbacks in order to keep as many members as possible working.

  13. On an article yesterday an unverified poster using the name "Teamster" took a shot at me for commenting on my salary being lower this year while health insurance costs substantially increased. Teamster told me to "Live better, work union". Teamster, If you're reading this, I sincerely hope you are not one of the group of 30 in the article. Consolidating departments is smart. It's a way to eliminate some high paid management positions.