Las Vegas Sun

September 2, 2014

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Sandoval says he never promised to restore state workers’ pay

CARSON CITY — Gov. Brian Sandoval said he will still attempt to reverse salary cuts and furloughs borne by state employees since 2009, but the state has to weigh costs in health and human services and see where the state's tax collections are.

Sandoval, talking to reporters Tuesday after a Board of Examiner's meeting, said he never promised to restore those cuts, though instructions to agencies included that direction.

"I'm hopeful ... we can restore some of those salary reductions that have occurred historically," he said.

Since 2009, the state's budget has been balanced in large part with reductions to the pay for 17,000 state employees. In 2011, the Legislature and Sandoval instituted a 2.5 percent pay cut and six furlough days a year to save the state about $123 million a year. It also eliminated automatic pay increases for some employees and longevity pay, saving $69 million, according to the state budget office.

Sandoval's chief of staff, Gerald Gardner, told the Nevada Appeal last week that he had directed agencies to build those pay cuts and furloughs back into their budgets. Earlier budget instructions from the governor attempted to restore pay levels.

"I appreciate the hard work and dedication of state employees," Sandoval said Tuesday, pointing to state employees' response to Northern Nevada fires and efforts to reduce the costs of leases.

"It's a consideration to restore those" reductions, he said.

He instructed agencies to prepare "flat" budgets, but include the costs of increased caseloads and federal mandates. He said one area of increase has been health and human services, part of which he blamed on the Affordable Care Act.

He said his administration has not made a decision on whether or not to expand Medicaid, the state's health insurance program for the poor and disabled, as envisioned under "Obamacare."

He said he instructed health and human services to prepare two budgets, one with the expansion and one without.

State agency budget recommendations will be released Friday, under state law, but the governor's recommended budget won't be presented to the Legislature until early 2013. That budget will be presented to the Legislature in January.

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  1. Stable paychecks are wonderful for employees. Pay increases would be an insult to Nevada citizens and taxpayers. Let's get some equity (serious compensation cuts) in city, county, and school district compensation--including AT LEAST half of PERS costs withheld from ALL employee paychecks. Negative COL's are in order AFTER revised / cut pay scales for almost all local government job categories.

  2. This is where the Sun could do better reporting. What is the fact? Did Sandoval make the promise or not?

  3. @ Roslenda (Roberta Anderson)

    Who are you to say that anyone, state employee or not, deserves to have a pay cut? And if you're going to throw around statements about labor costs, you need to also provide actual proof of said statement. I'm not a state employee, no. But I have certainly seen what kind of things they have to go through, especially ones that be in from traffic court to the DMV, are in customer-facing positions that have to put up with the kind of angry bitterness that you're dishing out yet again. They deserve what they make, and it's not their fault that the state entered into agreements for whatever salaries these people receive, if they are in fact overcompensated.

    Refusing to pay your payroll because you think it's too high after agreeing to it isn't any more irresponsible than say letting a house slip into foreclosure because you don't want to pay the high mortgage note that you agreed to.

  4. Robert Rooney...

    Right freaking on.
    Couldn't have said it better.

  5. DMC: We've had significant cuts in the cost of living. "Agreements" / pay scales have not been adjusted for these changes. Housing costs less, much less.
    johnman: Zero was saved off your back. You have the choice to stay on the job or walk away--whenever your employer changes what your offered pay will be.
    Orca: Nevada tax revenues have to be spread further--we have more and more illegal students in K-12, more and more illegals at UMC stealing medical treatment, more illegals doing crime for cash so law enforcement is busy.
    K-12 demanded all our money, in prior years, so there is no rainy day fund to cover us now. There is no money to pay all the State workers more UNLESS we cut compensation to the overpaid city, county, school district employees and get them on par with State employees.

  6. DMC: By the way, I am the EMPLOYER of the State employees of whom I speak. I am entitled to set their compensation at a reasonable level. I am also entitled to reduce compensation....

  7. Roberta says: "I am the EMPLOYER of the State employees of whom I speak. I am entitled to set their compensation at a reasonable level. I am also entitled to reduce compensation.."

    Once again, you lay your ignorance of things right out there for us to pick apart (with very little effort, mind you)..

    You, Roberta, elect a Surrogate to "do the hiring and firing." it is THEIR task, not yours, to make the deals with state workers. You have no control over the process, other than whining and bitching about "your" dollars being misspent on "Illegals Everywhere!!!!!" (I guess anyone with brown skin is an illegal to you) ...

    The sad part is that no one really cares what you think, since you sound more and more like Chicken Little every day, with your ever increasing level of insanity in your rants. I know facts are not part of your nature, but those of us with a fully functioning set of brain synapses would rather engage in debate based on the interpolation of actual facts (and there are excellent arguments to be had for both sides), rather than delusional"If I say it loud enough, it must be true" rantings....

  8. @ Roslenda (Roberta Anderson)

    The cost of living has gone down? Aren't the one who has argued IN FAVOR of the idea that inflation is increasing? You've cited everything from federal spending, printing money, driving down the value of the dollar, and most recently a twisted idea that raising the Federal Minimum Wage for workers devalued labor costs and thus further caused even MORE Inflation?

    Your own prior words invalidate your new argument that the cost of living is going down.

  9. To smaction (Scott Miller)
    Your comment: "This is where the Sun could do better reporting. What is the fact? Did Sandoval make the promise or not?"
    Good question and fair criticism.
    Gov. Sandoval never explicitly promised to do away with pay raises. But, since March, and as recently as late last months, critics have said that Sandoval's administration has not painted a realistic picture of what's possible.
    The budget director had agencies build budgets with that money in. Higher education did something similar. While that's largely an administrative exercise, it certainly seems like it gave 25,000 state workers false hope.
    Here's the story from March: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2012/mar...
    In it, then Chief of Staff Heidi Gansert makes clear Sandoval feels state workers' pain. But Gansert said a final recommendation about state employee pay and furloughs will be made by Sandoval after December.
    In that story, the (now former) head of AFSCME accused Sandoval of not being realistic.
    Then in this story in September, http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2012/sep..., an assemblywoman publicly questioned how Sandoval would balance his budget.
    In both cases, I think critics would argue, the administration did not moderate expectations enough.

  10. DMC: Inflation is on hold will the Federal Reserve dangerously plays with our economic future. We've actually experienced deflation. Again, housing costs are mucho lower. Average household income has DROPPED from about $55K per annum to about $50K, roughly 10% DROP. Let's get city, county, SD employees to drop to reasonable levels--perhaps with paying half their PERS--about 14%. I am familiar with various government pay scales--city of Vegas, County of Clark, SD of CC overpay substantially. If State employees do nothing but whine and whimper THIS WILL NOT CHANGE. TALK to your Legislature and deal with the disparity. Sure, you have to bite the bullet for now but GET SOME EQUITY while you can. And pair up, work with, the taxpayers who are so economically-attacked that we can join forces and BE HEARD OVER THE CONTINUAL HYPE OF local government employees and school teachers. For example, K-12 pays an AVERAGE OF $74k AND UP TO $96k for part time work, 184 days at 7 hours. As a state employee, would you like that?

  11. Patrick, there are many readers and posters who do not follow every article nor every post. People often don't grasp something at first exposure. Repetition is a proven tool. You are entitled to your opinions but you are NOT entitled to belittle me for differing with you. And you are not entitled to question my right to expression. FYI: I am of mixed race and grew up off a reservation. I come from various bloodlines including those most entitled to this geography. As for brown skin, I have full siblings that are darker skinned than most Hispanics. Your presumptuous arrogant attitude needs review. I am dedicated to changing this nation for the better not perpetuating the mistakes we've made. Yes, you and I express ourselves much differently. I do NOT attack those who don't think out their posts. I do sometimes differ with what they've said. It is absolutely ridiculous that we spend upwards of $150K per K-12 student and get negative results.

  12. figmo: Please read all my posts to this article. I am trying to back State workers with parity to other government workers BUT not raise taxes to do so. The SUT allocation gives so much to City, County, and School Districts that they have raised salaries and raised and raised. The 2% to the General Fund, but with increasing State costs, means state employees have not received comparable raises. Yes, I want to cut ALL expenditures down to reasonable and cost-effective levels. (And in this economy, everything SHOULD BE CUT.) But, I'd like to start with the most over-paid. You might visit City, County, SD web sites and get voluminous info. I do not repeat it nor do I get into links. If we want to fix things, it's going to take a little effort from a lot of people.

  13. Ok, Roberta, would you mind pointing out the Illegal students in my school? I invite you to come by and let me know which children should be tossed out. I also invite you to represent the district, when they are sued for ignoring Federal law (which one, you ask? How about the one that GUARANTEES A FREE AND APPROPRIATE EDUCATION FOR EVERY STUDENT WHO WALKS THROUGH THE DOOR?!? oh, you didn't know about that one???)

    This country has decided that ALL children deserve an education - period. If you don't like it, get off your booty and go change the law - stop whining about "Those Illegal students," and put some skin in the game.

    Also, I do not care about your skin color, bloodline, ancestry or anything else - You have something against what you call "Illegals." to everyone with a full set of working brain cells, that is read as "Brown people." It is not uncommon for one to have a bias against people of their own heritage; we need only look back about 160 years or so, to see that same attitude towards people who were just a little browner. Luckily my Great Great Great Great Grandfather had some morality and left his 30,000 acre plantation to his "Wife" whom he was legally barred from marrying - along with a Gatling gun to protected from the whites who were stupid enough to try and take it away.

  14. Patrick, this country has NOT decided all children deserve education. The SCOTUS made a specific decision for an Asian child who's legality here was questionable--not absolutely illegal. The schools have FAILED to get clarification.
    Further, the LVSun provides a forum for discussion of diverging viewpoints. We don't have to conform to your suggestions. Where have I EVER suggested that it is up to the schools to sort out the kids. Doesn't the STATE have something to do with funding, policy, oversight? Doesn't the State (legislature) have the ability to provide the legislation to EXPEL ILLEGALS?
    Patrick, since you have all the answers, where are we going to get the funding for 12-15 million illegals and kids? Not just K-12 but all the programs they run to. I just heard from an acquaintance at the food bank who says illegals with ipads and smartphones keep coming in for the free food while she makes do on modest income. I guess you don't plan on retiring--cause in your world there won't be any funding for it.

  15. SCOTUS did NOT say the death penalty was cruel and unusual punishment BUT many assumed that's what they'd said. WONG KIM ARK 1898 SCOTUS said a Chinese student BORN IN THE U.S. was to be enrolled in public school. Even that does not mean birth here equals citizenship--when your parents were here ILLEGALLY. As for the kids who were NOT BORN HERE, it hasn't been decided. It MIGHT be preferable to enroll them in public school UNTIL DEPORTED, EXPELLED but the feds are failing to enforce our laws. Therefore the states have the RESPONSIBILITY TO ACT TO protect it's citizens, including protecting our economy.