Assemblyman requests bill to stop "double dip" by administrators

A Las Vegas lawmaker is seeking legislation to prevent state administrators from collecting both retirement benefits and their government salary at the same time.

Assemblyman Doug Bache, D-Las Vegas, has requested legislation for the 2003 Legislature.

Bache objected to the Board of Examiners' decision allowing Public Safety Director Dick Kirkland and two of his top administrators to begin collecting both their retirement and their salary. The decision allowed Kirkland to add more than $70,000 in retirement benefits to his annual salary of $103,301.

"I am extremely disappointed that the state executive branch has chosen to abuse the law on two occasions by requesting that high-paid administrators be allowed to collect their public retirement benefits while receiving substantial salaries," said Bache.

Assembly Bill 555 was drafted by a study committee as a way to get teachers in specialties where there is a severe shortage to return to the classroom. Many have said they would continue teaching except their retirement is as much as 90 percent of what they would make in salary, so working in another profession makes better sense.

Bache said the incentive was aimed at math, special education and other areas where Nevada schools are experiencing shortages and that Clark County is using it to get qualified, experienced teachers back in the classroom.

But the bill was modified from the study committee's original version to allow it to be applied to any state or local government employee. In July, he said, allowing Kirkland to use it was "very creative" but not what was intended.

Gov. Kenny Guinn pushed the issue through the Board of Examiners in July without discussing and specifically justifying the positions held by Kirkland, his deputy Dave Kieckbusch and Administrative Services Officer Jan Capaldi as qualifying for designation as "critical shortage" status.

So far, no other governmental or public entity in the state has approved the use of the "critical shortage" designation for an administrative post.

In addition to the three administrators, the July vote approved "critical shortage" status for a parole board position, capital police officers and parole and probation officers. There has been no controversy about those designations, where the state has had trouble in the past attracting qualified candidates.

Three more positions were presented to the board last week: the POST rangemaster/armorer position which has been vacant a year and the chief deputies of the budget and the treasurer offices. Those decisions were put on hold by Guinn and the other members of the examiners board, Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa and Secretary of State Dean Heller. In this case, Guinn and Del Papa said they wanted to review the issue.

Heller said he wants any future designations to be accompanied by strong and specific reasons for the decision and that he believes any such designation should be limited to a specific amount of time.

Bache on Thursday urged the Board of Examiners not to approve any more applications.


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