Submitted by the Nevada Policy Research Institute
The Nevada Policy Research Institute is pleased to celebrate Sunshine Week — a national campaign stressing the importance of government transparency and accountability — by releasing 2017 salary data for more than 115,000 state and local government workers on TransparentNevada.com.
TransparentNevada.com — the state’s largest public pay database — is the Institute’s ongoing transparency project, allowing citizens the ability to see how, exactly, their tax dollars are being spent.
“Transparency is crucial to holding government accountable to the citizens it serves,” said NPRI Transparency Director Robert Fellner.
This year’s data shows some surprising abuses in how government operates.
Excesses like this are made possible because officers can collect overtime even when they work less than a 40 hour work week. According to the department’s own audit, $2.8 million in overtime was paid to officers who did not even work a full 40-hour week.
“Before the Governor championed raising wages and hiring more correctional officers — further burdening taxpayers with higher government spending — the very least he should have done was address the fundamentally abusive and wasteful practice of paying overtime to those who aren’t even working a full shift.
A similarly wasteful policy was found at Carson City, where three firefighters each logged over 5,000 hours’ worth of pay last year. When factoring in benefits, all three received total compensation packages that were more than triple the maximum annual salary listed in the city’s official salary schedule.
This shows the importance of transparency, says Fellner.
“Absent this type of complete and accurate pay data, taxpayers would be left with a dramatically incomplete picture of the true size of the pay packages they are required to fund.”
Such excess is made possible as a result of paid leave time that averaged over 800 a hours a year for each of the past three years, plus a policy where paid leave is treated as hours worked for the purpose of calculating overtime pay.
Outsized bonus for employee willing to commit felony-level crime by concealing public records?
At the Incline Village General Improvement District, a total of $9,850 in “You Make a Difference” bonuses was handed out to 9 of its 130 employees. IVGID public records officer Susan Herron received the lion’s share, collecting $5,750 — or nearly 60 percent of the total — on top of her $90,000 salary.
While the bonus is described as being awarded to employees who demonstrate “exemplary” performance, the agency refuses to disclose any more specifics than that. Herron’s outsized bonus raises serious questions, given her involvement in the felony-level crime of concealing public records, as previously reported in Nevada Journal.
NPRI reported that blatantly illegal policy to the Attorney General’s Office in early September 2017, but it does not appear as if any action has been taken to date.
Click here to view the full IVGID dataset.
“NPRI is proud to celebrate Sunshine Week and continue our efforts to keep Nevada governments accountable to the very citizens they are supposed to serve.”
To view the just-released 2017 salary data in a searchable and downloadable format, please visit TransparentNevada.com.