Nevada Commission for Women votes against being decommissioned
CARSON CITY, Nev. — The Nevada Commission for Women on Tuesday voted to reject being decommissioned and converted into a nonprofit organization whose efforts would be refocused on fundraising as a 501(c)3.
The commission, originally created in 1991 to examine issues impacting women in the state and advise the governor and Nevada Legislature in areas such as career advancement, pay equality and gender discrimination, was reactivated in 2014 when Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval was in office.
It falls under the oversight of the Department of Administration through Nevada Revised Statute 233I and typically meets monthly. Ten members were appointed by the governor to serve three-year terms, with no more than five members to be chosen from the same political party.
This year, the commission set out to focus on gender equality, increased women in leadership and promoting the public’s awareness of the commission itself using social media channels.
However, the state is facing 12 percent budget cuts in the next biennium, according to Gov. Steve Sisolak’s office. The possible decommissioning is in response to these potential cuts, according to NCOW chair JoEtta Brown, a Douglas County activist; and commissioner Ann Silver, CEO of the Reno+Sparks Chamber of Commerce.
Silver said Sisolak asked for budget reductions from department administrators. Repurposing NCOW as a 501(c)3 as a means of saving funds was one strategy, Silver said, adding she had consulted with the commission’s sole staff member, management analyst Molly Walt.
Commissioner Durette Candito, vice chair of the commission and a Las Vegas resident, said she understands the potential for cuts but expressed frustration.
“I’m a little shocked in this age of this #metoo movement in Nevada, in this country, that we would be cutting in this manner,” Candito said. “They’ve already cut our administrators’ salaries and cut Molly back on her salary, so I feel like we’ve already been chopped enough.”
Silver said she didn’t believe Walt’s salary had been cut.
“We are all at the governor’s mercy,” she added. “We don’t have the authority to weigh in on compensation.”
Commissioner Heather Engle, CEO of Las Vegas Rescue Mission and raised in Carson City, also was irritated about a sudden lack of representation given the commission’s accomplishments after the Nevada Women’s Suffrage celebration this year.
“I find it embarrassing and awful, this idea of being put in a corner,” Engle said. “As soon as it’s a little inconvenient, it’s a little inconvenient, right? We’re all in until we have a confrontation. We compartmentalize, then we move through it. It doesn’t mean we get silent about it. Watching this all go down right now, it’s terribly sad. I’m going to fight for it.”
The commission rejected the motion in an 8-0 vote, which will be forwarded to Laura Freed, Director of the Department of Administration, for consideration. The commission will be eventually informed of a final decision.
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