LAS VEGAS — Salary data for more than 132,000 government employees statewide, for the 2012 calendar year, is now available at TransparentNevada.com, a Nevada Policy Research Institute website that makes government-spending data easily accessible to taxpayers.
The new 2012 data — covering 58 government jurisdictions throughout Nevada, at state, county and city levels — includes several newly added jurisdictions.
“Thanks to the information available at TransparentNevada, Nevada’s citizens, lawmakers, and media members are now able to easily see exactly how much government employees take home in compensation,” said Andy Matthews, president of NPRI. “Many government employees make staggering amounts.”
“For instance, more than 1,200 government employees throughout the state received over $200,000 last year in total compensation,” he added. “That list ranges from a Henderson deputy police chief who made over $559,000, a Clark County assistant district attorney who took home more than $522,000, a Las Vegas IT director who received over $356,000 and a Washoe County district health officer making over $209,000.
“Compensation for government employees isn’t outrageously high only because retiring employees legally fleece taxpayers by cashing in unused sick leave. Government compensation is inflated for many government workers, with over 22,100 making more than $100,000 in total compensation.”
Matthews noted that Las Vegas City Manager Elizabeth Fretwell’s $386,784 compensation package more than doubled the $181,586 earned by Gov. Brian Sandoval. Also earning more than the governor in total compensation were a human resources director making $220,908 with the Southern Nevada Water Authority, a community services director in Washoe County making $184,343 and the parks and recreation director in Henderson making $219,402.
In all, over 2,000 government employees made more than Sandoval last year.
The payroll data provides important information as the Legislature is considering measures to raise taxes so public employees can be paid even more.
“The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department currently wants the Legislature to raise taxes to balance its budget, but one glance at the numbers on TransparentNevada shows that Metro’s budget problems come from inflated salaries,” said Matthews. “High compensation comes standard in Metro, with 348 employees taking in over $175,000 and 2,204 employees making over $125,000.”
In 2012, 2,289 state employees made over $100,000 in total compensation, even with many of them taking six unpaid furlough days. Now the Legislature is considering a proposal to raise taxes while boosting state worker pay by eliminating furloughs.
Matthews added that one bright spot for taxpayers was that the number of Clark County firefighters earning over $200,000 has dropped from 199 in 2010 to 92 in 2012. However, in Las Vegas the number of firefighters earning over $200,000 dramatically increased from 79 in 2011 to 130 in 2012.
“The data on TransparentNevada is a vivid reminder that government employees are living high on the hog while taxpayers struggle,” said Matthews. “Although government employee unions frequently have made a big show of ‘contract concessions,’ where one of their many scheduled salary increases is skipped, this data leaves no doubt that thousands upon thousands of government employees are overpaid.”
Most government jurisdictions fulfilled requests for public-employee data, Matthews said.
“It was encouraging to see more jurisdictions than ever before fully comply with Nevada’s public-records law and provide full salary and benefit information,” he said. “Unfortunately, officials in a few places — such as Mesquite and Nye County — did not. These jurisdictions needlessly opened themselves to potential lawsuits.”
TransparentNevada, on the Web at http://TransparentNevada.com, was first launched in September 2008 and has served as a unique source of government-financing information for thousands of citizens, journalists and elected officials.
Matthews said that the site will be adding salary data from even more jurisdictions in the coming weeks.