Double dippers waste no time

Three state administrators - including Public Safety Director Dick Kirkland - granted special permission to "double dip" both pension benefits and their salaries wasted no time doing so.

The Board of Examiners a week ago declared a list of 22 positions in the Public Safety Department to be "positions for which there is a critical shortage."

A law approved this year by the Nevada Legislature was designed to help school districts lure veteran teachers in critical specialties back to the classroom.

But public safety officials were the first to file for "critical" status. The list includes parole and probation officers, Capitol Police, a member of the parole board and highway patrol troopers - a total of 19 positions.

In addition, Kirkland requested the special designation for himself, his deputy Dave Kieckbusch and Administrative Services officer Jan Capaldi.

No applications have been received to rehire retirees for any of the 19 vacant staff positions. Personnel Director Jeanne Green said all of those positions are vacant, so the agency would have to go through a recruitment process to rehire retirees for them.

But Kirkland, Kieckbusch and Capaldi have all completed the process, which will let them start collecting both retirement checks and their salary.

In Kirkland's case, he is being paid his $103,301 salary and about $70,000 in retirement from his 30 years of prior public service with the Reno Police Department, Washoe County Sheriff's Department and a year as director of the Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety.

To do so, all three retired and left their job for a day, and filed to begin receiving retirement checks. Then, all were rehired to the same jobs.

Greene said she expects applications to begin arriving soon to fill the 19 vacant positions approved for the so-called double dip.

"There may be individuals going through the recruitment process now," she said.

She said after the rules for granting the special designation were approved by the Board of Examiners - the governor, attorney general and secretary of state - she sent letters explaining how the system will work to all state agencies.

So far, she said, she hasn't received any applications to declare a "critical shortage" of potential workers in other job classifications.

When the Public Safety posts were approved, Gov. Kenny Guinn said he believes any position which the agency and Greene recommend and forward to the board will be approved.

When the board approved Kirkland and the others for the special designation, they did so without reviewing the specific merits for each application. Instead, they approved them along with the rules for implementing the new law in a single motion.


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