Clark County Deputy DA triples salary to $475,000 with unused sick leave cash out, benefits

By Robert Fellner
  • Thursday, April 5, 2018

While Clark County reports a maximum annual salary of $162,000 for the position of chief deputy district attorney, former chief deputy DA Frank Ponticello actually received $415,662 in total pay last year, boosted in large part by cashing in over $217,000 worth of unused sick and vacation days.

When the employer-cost of health and retirement benefits are accounted for, Ponticello received a total compensation package worth $475,887.

After Ponticello, the next 4 highest compensated Clark County employees were:

  1. County Manager Yolanda King, who received $424,795 in pay and benefits.
  2. Aviation Director Rosemary Vassiliadis, who received $421,728 in pay and benefits.
  3. County Counsel Anne Miller, who received $328,248 in pay and benefits.
  4. Public Defender Philip Kohn, who received $313,642 in pay and benefits.

Total county employee compensation was $789 million, a roughly 3 percent increase from 2016.

The County’s top overtime (OT) earner was fire engineer William Hill, who received $75,448 in OT in addition to a base salary of $101,505.

Staggering paid leave time boosts Nevada government workers’ earnings across the state

The addition of 2017 Clark County data has solidified Carson City Fire Captain Matthew Donnelly’s position as the recipient of more OT payments ($110,162) than any firefighter in the state for the 2nd year in a row, as NPRI previously reported.

Such consistently high overtime is made possible, in part, due to the enormous amount of paid leave time provided to Carson City Fire employees, in combination with a policy whereby paid leave is treated as hours worked for the purpose of calculating overtime pay.

Specifically, Donnelly averaged 895 hours’ worth of paid leave for each of the past three years. To read more about soaring overtime pay at the Carson City Fire Department, please click here.

Similar abuses were found at the Nevada Department of Corrections, where one state correctional officer more than tripled his $57,000 salary to over $200,000 with OT, benefits.

The excessive overtime payments are made possible because officers can collect overtime even when they work less than a 40 hour work week by using paid leave. 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.

As Nevada Policy Research Institute Transparency Director Robert Fellner pointed out when NPRI first reported on the issue, the practice should have been addressed long before lawmakers agreed to increase spending in the department.

“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,” said Fellner.

To explore the 2017 pay data for nearly 130,000 Nevada state and local government workers, please visit TransparentNevada.com.