Gibbons quit paying cut |

Gibbons quit paying cut

by Geoff Dornan

Former Gov. Jim Gibbons said repeatedly during the 2009 Legislature and after that he would take the same pay cuts imposed on state workers.

He didn’t quite keep that promise.

According to the state financial records kept by the Controller’s office, Gibbons started off pretty consistently making his $366.90 a month payment back to the state, designating it to the Education Gift Fund. He made a total of 11 monthly payments, returning his 4.6 percent of salary to the state, in fiscal year 2010, which ended June 30. In all, he put $4,035.90 from his checks back into the treasury.

But Gibbons stopped making payments when fiscal 2011 began in July.

According to the state’s financial records, Gibbons made no payments for the last six months of his term in office – zero.

Gibbons had made a big deal of promising that any salary reductions taken by state workers would also be taken by his department heads and other administrators as well as staff in the governor’s office. His staff, during legislative hearings, put on the record that Gibbons had pledged to take the same pay cuts every state employee was hit with.

Under the law, state workers and others could take a furlough day and have their paychecks reduced by the appropriate amount. Unclassified employees such as directors and administrators could also have their pay docked by the Personnel Department.

But elected officials are different. Under the Nevada Constitution, their pay can neither be raised or lowered during a term of office – a provision designed to prevent vindictive pay cuts or inappropriate pay raises of elected officials between elections. So the state must pay them their full salary every pay period.

To take the salary reductions like other workers, the individual elected official must return the money to the state.

All five of Nevada’s other constitutional officers also took the 4.6 percent cuts.

Even high-ranking directors including Director of Administration Andrew Clinger and Health and Human Resources Director Mike Willden have religiously taken the furlough day each month and had their take-home pay cut to reflect that. Even the secretaries and administrative assistants in Gibbons’ office took the 4.6 percent pay cuts.

The former governor was unavailable for comment for his reaction to this story.