Posts Tagged ‘consolidation’

Labor Department Rejects Proposed Nevada Workforce Investment Board Consolidation Plan

By Sean Whaley | 2:11 pm September 13th, 2012

CARSON CITY – The U.S. Department of Labor has rejected Nevada’s request for a waiver to consolidate its three workforce investment boards into one, due largely to opposition to the plan by the Southern Nevada panel.

Frank Woodbeck, director of the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation had proposed the plan to consolidate the three separate boards that oversee workforce development, which was expected to reduce administrative expenses by $5 million.

DETR Director Frank Woodbeck.

“The waiver request was submitted in July, and we received a response in August to our request and that request was denied,” he told the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board at its meeting today. “The denial was based on the fact that the members of the southern board were in opposition to the waiver and the consolidation.”

The Northern Nevada and state boards supported the consolidation effort.

But Woodbeck noted that the consolidation effort has produced some positive results, including a significant reduction in administrative expenses incurred by the southern Nevada board, called Workforce Connections, under the leadership of Executive Director Ardell Galbreth.

Galbreth, who took over initially as interim director in April, reduced several top six-figure salaries and the size of the agency’s staff by more than half.

Woodbeck said the effort at consolidation has improved communications between his agency and the two local boards.

“So the work at trying to do board consolidation, etc., has not gone for naught,” he said. “It has been successful to a great degree in that we have a much greater line of communication with the directors of the two local boards, and I think we’ll make progress as time goes on.”

Woodbeck, with Gov. Brian Sandoval’s support, had sought the consolidation in part because of excessive administrative costs identified in audits of Workforce Connections.

The most recent audit, performed by the state Division of Internal Audits and released in May, found that Workforce Connections spent nearly twice as much on administration and monitoring of its programs than its northern counterpart.

More than $27 million in federal job training funds were awarded to the two local workforce development boards by the Board of Examiners in August, before the decision on the waiver had been made by the U.S. Department of Labor. The Southern Nevada board received more than $19 million in funding for the coming two years.

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Audio clips:

DETR Director Frank Woodbeck said the effort to consolidate the workforce boards has been rejected:

091312Woodbeck1 :15 and the consolidation.”

But Woodbeck says the effort has produced some positive results:

091312Woodbeck2 :20 time goes on.”

 

Gov. Sandoval Pushing Forward With Workforce Board Consolidation Despite Opposition

By Sean Whaley | 1:10 pm June 13th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Gov. Brian Sandoval said today he plans to move forward with the consolidation of two local workforce investment boards even though several Southern Nevada officials testified in opposition to the plan at a public hearing on Monday.

Sandoval said an audit by the state Internal Audit Division showed that not enough of the U.S. Department of Labor money was going to train the unemployed in Southern Nevada so they can find jobs. He said Southern Nevada officials will be well represented on the state board, which would assume control of the funding if the Labor Department gives its OK to the plan.

Gov. Brian Sandoval. / Nevada News Bureau file photo.

“That wasn’t surprising,” he said of the testimony in opposition from Southern Nevada officials, including Ardell Galbreth, interim executive director of the Southern Nevada board called Workforce Connections. “I think everybody recognizes that that audit was conducted, and a lot of money was not getting to the people who need it the most.

“This effort is not to punish anybody,” Sandoval said. “It is to ensure that the monies that are collected, as much of that money can get to the beneficiaries, the people of the community. The folks in Southern Nevada will be very well represented on the statewide workforce investment board. And I think as they come to learn more (about) what I’m trying to accomplish, they will see that it is in the best interests of all of those people that they serve.”

The goal is to get as many dollars as possible to those who need training so they can find employment, he said.

The audit found that Workforce Connections spent nearly twice as much on administration and monitoring of its programs than its northern counterpart. Following the release of the audit, the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation announced its plan to consolidate the two local boards with the state board.

Currently, funding is provided from the federal Department of Labor to the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board and funneled to two local boards, one in Southern Nevada and the other in Northern Nevada. These boards in turn contract with public and private organizations to offer workforce training programs to youth and adult and dislocated workers.

The U.S. Department of Labor provided about $29.5 million in fiscal year 2011 to Nevada for the programs that supported over 26,000 participants. The programs are intended to help improve the employability of participants.

Galbreth said when the audit was released that the agency’s 2012 budget was revised to ensure that no more than 20 percent of the funding would go to program and administrative costs. The staff of 72 at the board is also being reduced to 34 by the end of the year if not before, he said. The six-figure salaries provided to five of eight staff have been cut, said Galbreth, who took over as interim director in April.

In announcing the plan to change the operation of the boards, Sandoval said: “This new plan calls for greater collaboration between workforce development and the newly restructured Governor’s Office Economic Development, which earlier this year released its plan under the ‘Moving Nevada Forward’ label as well. A key area of focus for my administration is building the type of trained workforce that will support economic diversification.”

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Audio clips:

Gov. Brian Sandoval says he was not surprised at the opposition to the consolidation plan:

061312Sandoval1 :12 it the most.”

Sandoval says the proposal is not meant as punishment but to get the money to where it is needed most:

061312Sandoval2 :29 that they serve.”

 

Partisan Politics Enter Fray As Regents Consider Closing Colleges

By Andrew Doughman | 3:59 pm April 8th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Campus closures, consolidations and mergers are back on the table after the Board of Regents today undid a vote from last month to not consider campus closures, which itself followed a February vote to consider campus closures.

Many of the smaller colleges are in districts represented by Republicans.

Some Republicans consider the Regents’ move a political one. The threat of campus closures could be a bargaining chip Democrats can use later to convince Republicans to vote for tax increases.

“I’ve never seen political hayday as bad as this,” said Assemblyman John Ellison, R-Elko, whose district includes Great Basin College. “I’m not a supporter of blackmail.”

Democrats refuted the claims.

“It’s more of a reality check that they’re going to have to take some pretty drastic measures,” said Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, the chairwoman of the Assembly Ways and Means committee.

But, she said, the Legislature is a political environment. Last month, Assembly Republicans released their own list of bargaining chips that they would trade for taxes.

“We’re fooling ourselves if we think that these decisions won’t be somewhat political,” Smith said.

The Board voted 10 – 3 to again consider closing campuses. They did not, however, vote on any actual campus closures.

Sen. Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, spoke at the meeting in Las Vegas in support of considering campus closures.

Horsford has been a driving force in putting the possibility of closures back on the table. He earlier asked Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Dan Klaich to develop full plans for how the universities and colleges of Nevada will absorb Gov. Brian Sandoval’s proposed $162.4 million higher-education budget reduction.

“I would urge you to reconsider your earlier action that took campus closures off the table as one of the implications of reduced funding for higher education,” Horsford said. “One of the realities we must face – in light of the new information on the full extent of the governor’s proposed cuts – is that if those cuts are accepted, campuses would have to close.”

The debate in the Legislature mirrored the Regents’ debate about campus closures.

“It’s hogwash, it’s politics, and I’m not in favor of it,” said Jack Schofield, a regent representing Clark County. “I’m not in favor of getting this thing back in where we can emasculate anything that we’ve worked for.”

Regent Michael Wixom, who represents Clark County, said that all they are doing is gathering information about campus closures.

“If I’m going to make an informed decision, I have to follow that process,” he said.

Regent Ron Knecht, a former Republican Assemblyman from Carson City, was the primary supporter of keeping campus closures off the table. He said it would cause undue stress and demoralize students, staff and faculty at institutions considered for closure.

“Apparently some politicians have some political battle to fight with the governor and minority party legislators and that fight is more important that those considerations,” he said.

Assemblyman Pete Livermore, R-Carson City, represents a district that includes Western Nevada College.

“I believe it’s an issue of targeted political pressure,” he said.

The Regents met in March at Western Nevada College and heard a preliminary report from Klaich that closures could save $7 to $15 million.

The Regents voted to not further consider closures at that meeting after hearing hours of public testimony during which students and faculty described how detrimental those considerations could be to morale.

Following today’s vote, the Regents will again consider all options to mitigate cuts. To that end, they also voted unanimously to support raising revenue for higher education.

The campus closures, however, appear to be more politically contentious than the unanimous vote.

“I’m a little concerned that you keep asking a question until you get the answer you want,” said Livermore.

Ross Douthat Pens a Winner: The Great Consolidation

By Elizabeth Crum | 8:46 am May 17th, 2010

I’m breaking from publication mission — All Nevada All the Time — to point you to this excellent column by Ross Douthat at the NYT.

What he said.

If the subject of the follies of self-perpetuating meritocracy interests you, allow me to recommend the book I am reading:  Voltaire’s Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West by John Ralston Saul.  It’s a wonderful, well-written work of scholarship and a devastating critique of the process-minded “rational” experts who run our increasingly complex political, economic and cultural establishments.