Public Pay Data: $1,000,000 for Southern Nevada Water Authority Trio

  • Wednesday, March 8, 2017

For Immediate Release
Contact: Robert Fellner, 702-222-0642

Cashing in unused leave for amounts equal to or greater than a year’s salary helped boost the combined compensation packages for three Southern Nevada Water Authority employees to over $1,000,000 last year, according to just-released salary data posted on TransparentNevada.com.

Today, the Nevada Policy Research Institute updated its public pay database with 2016 data for over 75,000 Nevada state and local government workers. The data provides insight to how, exactly, government agencies are spending taxpayer dollars on compensation.

“Astronomical” unused leave payouts

The Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) had some of the largest unused leave payouts of any agency surveyed, with several employees cashing out unused leave in amounts greater than an entire year’s salary.

“In the private sector, being able to accumulate and cash in such astronomical amounts of unused leave is virtually unheard of,” commented NPRI Transparency Director Robert Fellner.

The data reveals that these unused leave payouts — reported under “other pay” on the Transparent Nevada website — boosted the combined compensation package of three SNWA employees to over $1,000,000 last year.

  • SNWA Engineering director Marcus Jensen collected $276,601 in other pay to boost his total compensation to: $449,392.
  • SNWA Engineering director Shawn Mollus collected $272,029 in other pay to boost his total compensation to: $309,662.
  • SNWA General Counsel Charles Hauser collected $184,406 in other pay to boost his total compensation to: $264,546.

The ability to accumulate and cash in unused leave in excess of a year’s salary wasn’t limited to the SNWA.  

“It’s a pattern we’ve identified throughout local government agencies across the state,” said Fellner.

Employees at the cities of Henderson and North Las Vegas, for example, were also able to cash in on the perk:

  • North Las Vegas Fire Battalion Chief Jay Wittwer collected $214,225 in other pay to boost his total compensation to: $478,384.
  • North Las Vegas detective Jesus Prieto collected $183,435 in other pay to boost his total compensation to: $252,866.
  • Henderson Fire Chief Steven Goble collected $218,191 in other pay to boost his total compensation to: $239,309.
  • Henderson accounting manager Concepcion Kershaw collected $164,996 in other pay to boost his total compensation to: $254,132.
  • Henderson systems engineer III Marco Arnhold collected $162,907 in other pay to boost his total compensation to: $220,714.

Henderson Fire Chief pulls in over $400,000 for one week of work

This ability to accumulate and cash-in such large amounts of unused leave has resulted in massive payouts right before retirement — as is evidenced by Henderson Fire Chief Goble. After just 7 days of employment in 2016, Chief Goble collected $239,309 in total compensation, nearly all of which came from cashing in unused leave. Goble then immediately began drawing a $141,000 pension, while continuing to work full-time in the private sector.

Fellner noted that this is yet another example of how the state retirement system has dramatically exceeded the legislatively stated purpose to provide a “reasonable base income” for those no longer able to work.

“Few taxpayers are ever afforded the opportunity to cash in such large amounts of unused leave and begin collecting a six-figure pensions for life — all while still in the prime of their working career!”

To view the entire dataset in a searchable and downloadable format, please visit TransparentNevada.com.

Total compensation is defined as total pay plus the employer-cost of health and retirement benefits. 

For more information or to schedule an interview with NPRI, please contact Robert Fellner at 702-222-0642 or RF@npri.org.

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