Las Vegas Sun

July 25, 2014

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the Economy:

On July 1, more than 100 North Las Vegas employees to lose jobs

City officials say residents shouldn’t experience cuts in most services

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The North Las Vegas Detention Center is being mostly shuttered beginning July 1 as part of a money-saving effort by the city. More than 90 civilian and uniformed employees are losing their jobs at the jail.

North Las Vegas to transfer inmates

KSNV reports that the cities of North Las Vegas and Las Vegas have come to an agreement that would have the Las Vegas Detention Center accept North Las Vegas Detention Center inmates to help North Las Vegas close a $30 million budget gap, June 20.

North Las Vegas cuts

Here's a breakdown of cuts, as provided by the city, of jobs being cut in North Las Vegas:

  • North Las Vegas Detention Center (Police Officers Association and Police Department Association members): 51 jobs
  • North Las Vegas Detention Center (civilian Teamsters members): 42 jobs
  • Administrative Services: Three jobs
  • Finance: One job
  • Library: Two jobs
  • Public Works: Seven jobs
  • City Manager’s Office: One job
  • Fire Department: One job
  • Total: 108 jobs

    For 20 years, Beverley Walton had a job at the North Las Vegas Detention Center, and then one day, she did not.

    It was June 4. Walton said she and approximately 45 other civilian co-workers were asked to attend a meeting with the deputy chief and members of the city’s human relations staff. She knew this meeting was coming, dreaded it — yet she never believed it would actually happen.

    That day, they told Walton and 41 other Teamsters union employees, all co-workers in the jail, they would be jobless come Fourth of July.

    “We kind of knew,” Walton said. “But reality is a bitter pill to swallow.”

    On June 20, the North Las Vegas City Council unanimously approved shutting down most of the detention center and shipping misdemeanor and pretrial inmates to the Las Vegas Detention Center. A total of 93 civilian and police employees were let go.

    Walton and the detention center were one of many difficult budget cuts North Las Vegas is undertaking to help eliminate a budget deficit once estimated at more than $30 million. Beginning July 1, city services will be streamlined, hours cut, furloughs enforced, and approximately 108 city workers will lose jobs.

    Mayor Shari Buck said the cuts were difficult but necessary if the city is to ever climb out of its financial hole.

    “(The hardest part is) knowing that there are employees and families who have lost their jobs, and I can’t guarantee they’re going to find another job in the valley,” Buck said. “It’s the reality of what laying someone off really means. That’s really hard, but I have a responsibility to be responsible and to make tough decisions.”

    Click to enlarge photo

    North Las Vegas Mayor Shari Buck speaks during the North Las Vegas State of the City address at Texas Station on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012.

    City Manager Tim Hacker said the goal was to reduce expenses and eliminate inefficiencies throughout the city’s departments without affecting services that directly impact residents. In addition to curtailing operations at the jail, the moves include:

    • Limiting overtime hours for firefighters and police officers.

    • Eliminating several behind-the-scene positions in street and utility maintenance.

    • Cutting back hours of operation at the library and recreation centers.

    • Enforcing furloughs.

    Hacker said more than 215 people could’ve lost jobs if the city hadn’t declared a state of financial emergency earlier this month. Most of the 108 job cuts by the city will come from workers in the North Las Vegas Detention Center. The rest were spread throughout administrative services, finance and public works, among others.

    Click to enlarge photo

    Tim Hacker

    The goal, Hacker said, was to avoid cutting jobs that would directly impact services to residents.

    “As long as the action of the city council isn’t overturned, I don’t think (residents) will notice a great disparity in city services,” Hacker said. “The departments have done a great job minimizing services that go directly to customers in the field and looked at other ways to reduce (costs).”

    Hacker said the biggest adjustment residents would notice would be the change in library and recreation center hours. Both the Alexander Library and Aliante Library will be open for four days instead of five.

    For some residents like Sterling Adair, that means one less day he can search for a third part-time job and respond to work emails. The library is his main source for Internet service. Others, like Mary Smith, rely on the library for its computers and as an entertainment outlet.

    “I come here often enough to have that affect me,” Adair said. “I thought their hours were too short as it is. That is not good news to me at all.”

    There will be adjustments for both fire and police departments. Police officers will have to travel an extra 11 minutes to reach the Las Vegas Detention Center to book criminals. Mike Yarter, president of the North Las Vegas Police Officers Association, said the differential could lead to more crime. Yarter believes the distance and new booking procedure along with fewer beds available for criminals could lead to softer sentences.

    “Time will tell, but I don’t see how not having your own jail facility is going to help,” Yarter said. “How is that going to help curb crime?”

    Some fire stations, like Fire Station 56 near the Aliante Station resort and a retirement community, will be closed on various days during the week, depending on staff availability. Jeff Hurley, president of the North Las Vegas Firefighters Association, said emergency response vehicles would also decrease, from 19 to 9.

    “It’ll be disastrous come July 1,” Hurley said.

    Jeff Case, a resident near Fire Station 56, said he may start looking to live elsewhere if services are being cut. The casino, he said, is one of the biggest employers and attractions in North Las Vegas, yet his main concern is for a retirement community in the area.

    “When we have city services close to us, it gives us a peace of mind,” Case said. “In these times, it’s a luxury we can’t afford lately. It seems sad. Seems like we are making cuts in all the wrong places.”

    Hacker said the city was looking into utilizing paddy wagons and hiring private EMTs for medical emergencies to help ease any negative impact and doesn’t expect the cuts to affect emergency services.

    Come July 1, a lot will change in North Las Vegas, and Buck and Hacker hope most won’t notice.

    Yet, Walton and 108 other former city employees will notice. Walton said she would be fine living on a forced medical retirement income and her spouse’s income, but she knows many more whose lives will be altered.

    “I talked to a few officers that they are laying off, and no matter what happens, they have to walk away from their homes,” Walton said. “I’ll be fine. We’ll survive. ... When (God) closes one door, he opens another.”

    Amidst the bleakness, however, Buck says she sees the first glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

    “There’s this pulling together as a community ... and a lot of hope for a better future,” she said. “So that’s what keeps us going. We’re going to recover as a city, going to be able to move past this, and hopefully in the next few short years, the hard times will be behind us, move forward and bring people back on.”

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    1. People are losing jobs in North Las Vegas. It's ironic the North Las Vegas City Manager last name is Hacker.

    2. "never believed it would actually happen." The problem is so many people are not dealing with reality. Denial all over the place. Stop dragging the rest of us along with your denial. Adjust to the new world. Do it a step at a time if you have to. You used to think you could make $X0,000 a year. Well change that to 90% or more likely 75% and WORK WITH IT. Housing costs are down. Retail is much lower. So everything can be 75-90% of what it used to be and you can live reasonably well. Pay off your bills, all of them. Use charge cards only to the extend that you can and will pay off the balance each month. Save up the cash for a future car purchase or repairs / remodels to the house. Bank it all for retirement and unusual financial situations. Get realistic and prepared.

    3. Now that NLV has trimmed ANOTHER hundred jobs, it must be time for another Capital Improvement Project......what shall we build THIS time.......another road to nowhere? more landscaping for the homeless in the center of LVB and Main? don't need new digs.....just built em and have no staff left to occupy......how about a monorail station......seems to have about as much sense as some of that CIPs they have undertaken since the revenue has dropped to NADA....

      Is high time the State of Nevada stepped in to protect the citizens of NLV FROM their elected officials, and before the situation goes from unacceptable to TERMINAL!!!!!!

    4. Now the union found out that NLV was not bluffing and reality is sinking in that there is really not enough money to spend like it used to be. At least the members have their unions to help find them another good paying jobs.

    5. I ask Sun to do a poll - see if NLV residents can even name their mayor.

      I'm almost certain the majority of people will NOT be able to name their mayor. Why?

      Because she has been absent throughout this entire ordeal.

      The political establishment in NLV has shown that they would do anything to maintain power in NLV. This group of people have caused great harm to NLV.

      Just look at the police officers they hire. They hired people who are NOT residents of NLV. To make matters worse - they are paying these guys huge salaries. What do we get in return? Signs from these guys and their groups threatening residents that "their safety can no longer be guaranteed" as if they could guarantee it before.

      Shari Buck MUST resign immediately. She has shown to be an incompetent representative and advocate for North Las Vegas. She has failed MISERABLY! in providing ANY sense of leadership.

      She is a sitting duck collecting a pay check. Shari Buck! Resign!

    6. If residents won't notice much difference in services, WHY did we pay for these things to begin with?

    7. snowvet and pals: While they are on unemployment, they need to pay off bills. Many of us have dealt with the reality that there may not be another job, ever. Those who are still employed might pull their heads out of the sand and look around. Denial that they will never lose their jobs? Pay down debt. Save what you can. Be compassionate but practical. No severe or sudden moves but as mentioned above, get that resume out there even if you are employed. Consider long and hard before selling or walking away from a house but also consider long and hard BEFORE remodeling, new furnishings, new vehicles. What should you have done (or not done last year) if you get laid off next week?

    8. What part of paying officers over $70,000 to pull people over for traffic don't you find obscene? Most of these people don't even have higher education above high school or one or two years of community college.

      Risk their life for us? Please, don't start with the patriotic talk. Haven't you noticed? Officers NO LONGER risk their lives - they shoot first and ask questions later. If a person is justified in killing a man b/c of a "furtive movement" there is little to NO risk taking. The days of officers risking their lives on the line is over.

      This bogus argument that somehow these people deserve more than their fair share because they are "risking their life" is completely hogwash.

      We have plenty of well educated competent people willing to take these jobs and "risk their life" for a lesser amount in pay.

      What you have here is Gov't by the likes of Shari Buck - who pay these people amounts that are downright obscene. Ironically, these are the same people, Republicans, who advocate for smaller gov't or distrust gov't. Hypocrisy!

      Don't even get started with pay for those officials in office. They are equivalent to those in Bell, California.

      These people don't serve the citizens of North Las Vegas - they serve themselves!

      Sheri Buck - our mayor? Our leader? Shame on you! Resign!

    9. Chunky says:

      Right on! Roslenda / Roberta Anderson for President!!! This is exactly what the people and our governments need to do! A double Amen for Ms. Buck as well for bucking the system and making hard decisions! Too bad it has come to this but no family, city, state or our federal government can sustain spending more than our revenue! Nor can we solve it with debt.

      The Chunks family got out of debt, saved, built an emergency fund and still saved extra so when we had to buy two cars to replace out 140k mile cars this year we did it with cash!

      Chunky isn't unsympathetic to those who have lost their jobs; it's a tragedy but we all have to prepare for the worse case and not rely on the government to bail us out. The government can't even bail itself out!

      That's what Chunky thinks!

    10. if 70K a year for police is obscene what about 6 figures for firefighters..........I mean if it gets too big to handle not like they are SOL, the County and neighboring municipalities step in.....so why a city FD........give it to Clark County.....they have the stations and the manpower to handle just about any situation and with the increased work load, might be worth the 6 figures.....

    11. A $30 million deficit, divided among 100 workers is $300,000 per worker. Where does the $70,000 come in?

      $300,000 per city worker is incredible. Are there any accounting majors in North Las Vegas?

    12. Yooo, Chunky. Doesn't it feel good to not be in debt? And the "power" to make intelligent decisions about what you do buy... Think if the government could do that--and end to all the justifications and insecurities when we spend less than we can afford. Call it building a reserve, a serious reserve.

    13. Mayor Buck now tries to place a positive spin on a terrible NLV passage that she primarily created both as a council person and as Mayor. Buck must go. She is a major reason that NLV is in a ton of hurt, and former Mayor Mike Montandon is right there with her.She must be voted out!