Posts Tagged ‘Heidi Gansert’

Reno Selected For IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Grant

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 10:33 am November 29th, 2012

CARSON CITY – The city of Reno has been selected as one of only 100 recipients of IBM’s prestigious Smarter Cities Challenge grant for 2013.

Partners in the project include the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, University of Nevada, Reno, EDAWN, Desert Research Institute and the Nevada Institute for Renewable Energy Commercialization.

“Being chosen as one of IBM’s Smart Cities signals to the rest of the country, and internationally, that Reno is a community ready for knowledge-based economic expansion,” said Heidi Gansert, special assistant to the president for external affairs at UNR.

“The university is pleased to be part of the Smart Cities Team and will work with the city of Reno and other partners to help drive the local and statewide economy through workforce development, innovation and research,” she said in a statement earlier this month.

The $400,000 grant provides professional consulting and services and will allow Reno to create sophisticated analytics software which will provide citizens and developers complete access to information on properties within the city.

Brian Bonnenfant, program manager for the University’s Center for Regional Studies in the College of Business, said the spatial fiscal-impact model will allow for quicker turnaround on economic development projects and more informed decisions by city leaders.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to build a system that’s important to economic development in the region,” Bonnenfant said. “We’re thrilled to be involved with this important work. We’ve worked on projects like this in the past in other communities – and specific projects in Reno – and see the possibilities this grant opens up.

“I see a variety of entities at the university becoming involved, such as the College of Engineering and the College of Science,” he said. “We’ve all worked with the city on a number of projects and have a number of resources this project can draw from.”

The Reno City Council approved a resolution in August to apply for the IBM grant to “develop a plan for the city, University of Nevada, Reno, and the Desert Research Institute to effectively coordinate economic development opportunities, especially through the implementation of technology commercialization, and thereby stimulate job creation in the city of Reno and the surrounding region.”

Gov. Sandoval Names Gerald Gardner New Chief Of Staff

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 11:51 am August 17th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Gov. Brian Sandoval today announced Gerald Gardner has been named chief of staff effective September 5. Gardner takes over for Heidi Gansert who has served as the governor’s chief of staff for the past twenty months and who announced her resignation yesterday.

Gov. Brian Sandoval.

“I have known Gerald since he served as my Las Vegas regional chief when I was attorney general,” Sandoval said.  “His experience in Southern Nevada combined with his keen intellect and insight will be invaluable as we move into the 2013 Nevada Legislative session. I am pleased that Gerald has agreed to join my administration and serve in this capacity. I look forward to working together again.”

Gardner, 47, currently serves as the assistant district attorney of Carson City, advising the district attorney in all policy, administrative, and operational matters. He also serves as chief trial attorney and chief of the criminal prosecution division.

Gardner received his law degree from Cornell University in 1991 and his bachelor’s degree from Kenyon College in 1987. After graduating from law school, he joined the Clark County District Attorney’s Office in Las Vegas where he served for nine years in the criminal, appellate, and civil divisions.

In 2002, Gardner was named the chief of the criminal justice division for the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, focusing on public corruption and fraud cases. In 2004, he was appointed by then-Attorney General Brian Sandoval to serve as his Las Vegas regional chief. He also served on the Attorney General’s Legislative Committee.

“I am extremely honored to have been chosen by Governor Sandoval to serve as his chief of staff,” Gardner said. “It will be my privilege to serve the governor and the people of Nevada in achieving the important objectives of this administration – promoting Nevada’s economy and improving education for our state’s children.”

Gardner lives in Carson City with his wife, Stephanie, and their three children, Bennett, James, and Julia.

Gansert stepped down after discussions with her family.

“As most everyone who is involved in state government knows, the chief of staff position requires an extraordinary commitment and I have given it my all since helping lead the transition and from our first day in office,” she said in a statement. “In addition, preparation has begun on the governor’s biennial budget and legislative agenda, so now is the right time for a new chief to step in and guide the planning process for the 2013 Nevada Legislature.”

Nevada State Administrators Get Budget Details In All-Day Planning Session

By Sean Whaley | 3:28 pm March 15th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada’s top state administrators gathered together in meeting rooms and via the internet today to hear first-hand about Gov. Brian Sandoval’s initial plans for his 2013-15 budget.

The all-day meeting called “Budget Kickoff” was intended to provide instructions to state administrators on how to begin preparing their spending plans for the new two-year budget that will take effect on July 1, 2013.

State administrators were briefed today on the 2013-15 budget plan. / Photo: Nevada News Bureau.

Agencies are expected to see flat budgets compared to the current spending plan after Sandoval surprised many around the state on Tuesday by announcing he would extend an expiring package of tax increases into the next budget cycle to avoid any further cuts to education and critical social services.

In announcing his intentions, Sandoval said: “I’m not going to pit kindergartners against senior citizens. I’m not going to pit higher ed students against people that need essential services.”

Agencies are also being directed to prepare their spending proposals using the new Priorities and Performance Based Budgeting process required as a result of legislation approved in the 2011 legislative session.

While the next budget won’t take effect for more than 15 months, the planning process begins early. Sandoval must submit his proposed budget to the Legislature by January 2013 in advance of the February 2013 legislative session.

“You know how difficult the last couple of sessions have been, and you understand the depth and the breadth of the cuts to state spending,” said Heidi Gansert, Sandoval’s chief of staff, in introductory remarks to the assembled administrators. “You’ve also heard about the positive economic news in recent months. Sales tax collections are up. Gaming revenues are improving. Unemployment is slowly declining. All signs that Nevada’s economy is turning the corner.”

But Medicaid caseloads have tripled over the past decade and new costs are looming due to mandates from the federal health care law, she said. The ballot proposals being circulated to raise taxes are not an option as far as Sandoval is concerned, Gansert said.

By continuing the sunsetting taxes, no Nevadans will pay any more in taxes in the next budget than they are now, she said.

“The governor has said we will grow our way out of this recession and we will, it’s just going to take more time,” Gansert said.

She had some good news for state employees, noting that the unpaid furloughs, 2.5 percent salary reductions, frozen merit pay increases and the elimination of longevity pay are all under review for the next budget for restoration if possible.

Janet Rogers, an economist with the Budget Division, said the national economy is improving, but slowly, and Nevada is lagging behind.

State Budget Office economist Janet Rogers talks about the economy as Budget Director Jeff Mohlenkamp looks on. / Photo: Nevada News Bureau.

“In the train that represents the national economy, Nevada is the caboose,” she said. “During the recession, for those of you who have been here, know, we had the largest employment drop of any state, the highest unemployment rate, the highest foreclosure rate and we were the last state to enter the recovery.”

State Budget Director Jeff Mohlenkamp talked about the potential impacts of the health care reform law, saying it will have a significant effect on the state’s Medicaid population.

The federal government is expected to pick up the costs of Medicaid recipients eligible under the law, but an influx of enrollees among residents who are already eligible for the health insurance program for low income, disabled and senior citizens is also expected, and these costs will have to be covered in part by the state, he said.

Nevada’s Medicaid caseload has increased from an average of 117,627 recipients in fiscal year 2001 to 285,732 in fiscal year 2011.

“Now the overall impacts of the health care reform aren’t clear,” Mohlenkamp said. “We don’t know what the number is going to be but we do know it’s significant, and we’ve done some broad estimations in our budget preparation.”

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Audio clips:

Sandoval Chief of Staff Heidi Gansert says the Nevada economy is improving:

031512Gansert1 :23 turning the corner.”

But Gansert says it will take more time to grow out of the recession:

031512Gansert2 :06 take more time.”

Budget Office economist Janet Rogers calls Nevada the caboose on the national economic recovery train:

031512Rogers :22 enter the recovery.”

State Budget Director Jeff Mohlenkamp says the new health care law will have big impacts on Nevada’s Medicaid program:

031512Mohlenkamp :11 our budget preparation.”

 

 

State Fiscal Constraints Holding Up Interim Studies Of Public Education, Retirement System

By Sean Whaley | 1:51 pm February 15th, 2012

CARSON CITY – The state of Nevada’s tough financial situation is holding up two separate interim studies approved by the Legislature because of the requirement for alternative funding sources to assist in conducting the reviews.

One is a study of the state Public Employees’ Retirement System and the other is a study of the funding formula now used for public education. Both studies require non-state funding, but proponents are having a hard time coming up with the money.

Typically there is state funding appropriated for interim studies by the Legislature. But the state’s difficult fiscal situation led to the imposition of the financial requirements for the two studies.

Retirement system review requires $250,000 in private cash up front

Gov. Brian Sandoval and lawmakers approved a study of the state public pension system with an eye towards evaluating the need for a change for future state and local government hires to a “defined contribution”  or some modified type of plan.

But the study outlined in Assembly Bill 405 requires a $250,000 contribution from the private sector to be secured before another $250,000 appropriation from the state could be used for such an assessment.

The private funding has been hard to come by.

Heidi Gansert, chief of staff to Sandoval, said other options are being explored by representatives of Nevada’s business community interested in such a review.

Sandoval Chief of Staff Heidi Gansert, right, with former budget director Andrew Clinger. / Nevada News Bureau file photo.

“They had to meet the $250,000 threshold before state funds would be released and so I think the issue was the level of funding required, private funding, versus getting some funding for it,” she said. “There may be some private sector folks that are still going to work on some form of study.

“My understanding is the $250,000 is too high of a threshold but they are looking at coming up with partial funding and maybe doing something on their own versus trying to meet that threshold to get the state funding,” Gansert said.

Sandoval favors a change to the retirement plan because of a concern about the potential taxpayer liability for the defined benefit plan that covers almost all state and local government employees. The long-term unfunded liability is estimated at about $10 billion, although some assessments using different measures put it at a much higher amount.

There has been a growing call nationally to move public pension plans to a state to a defined contribution plan, similar to a 401(k)-type plan, from the current defined benefit plan, where retirees are paid a set amount per month based on salary and years of service.

Sandoval has advocated such a position, although the concept did not see any serious discussion in the 2011 legislative session.

Nevada PERS officials say the plan is actuarially sound, and that the unfunded liability will be covered over time. They also note that the contribution rates required to keep the plan healthy are set by an independent actuary and are fully funded by the Legislature. The Legislature also made several changes to the existing PERS plan in 2009.

Public education study requires at least $125,000 to move forward

The legislative study looking at potentially new ways of funding public education was sought by the Clark County School District. But no state funding was provided for the review.

At the first meeting of the New Method for Funding Public Schools interim study in January, Clark County School District official Joyce Haldeman said $125,000 in anticipated funding from a private foundation to pay for a study would not be available.

The district is looking for other funding for the study.

Assemblyman Marcus Conklin, D-Las Vegas, the chairman of the interim study, gave the district until Feb. 21 to identify at least $125,000 for a study. The panel is scheduled to meet Feb. 28, but the meeting will be cancelled if no funding is secured.

The Clark County School District would like to see new factors included in the 45-year-old funding formula, such as additional financial weight given to educate special education students, English-language learners and children in poverty.

Questions have been raised as to whether either study is actually needed, however.

Geoffrey Lawrence, deputy director of policy for the Nevada Policy Research Institute, said in an interview in June, 2011, regarding the PERS unfunded liability that legislative studies do not typically generate change in subsequent legislative sessions.

And Assemblyman Ira Hansen, R-Sparks, a member of the public education interim study panel, asked for justification for the proposed review at the January meeting, noting a 2007 study by lawmakers identified no inequities in the Nevada Plan formula for public education.

After spending nearly $250,000, the conclusion was that the Nevada Plan was highly equitable, he said.

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Audio clips:

Heidi Gansert, Gov. Brian Sandoval’s chief of staff, says the level of private funding required for the PERS study to go forward is too high:

021512Gansert1 :15 form of study.”

Gansert says business leaders may come up with a lower level of funding and conduct their own study:

021512Gansert2 :10 the state funding.”

 

Nevada Selected For Policy Academy To Improve Higher Education Performance Measures

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 5:00 pm October 17th, 2011

CARSON CITY – The National Governors Association (NGA) announced today  that Nevada has been selected as one of six states to participate in a Policy Academy on strengthening post-secondary education performance measures.

The NGA defines a Policy Academy as a highly interactive, team-based process for helping a select number of states develop and implement an action plan to address a complex public policy issue.

In announcing the project, the NGA said: “States must have a strategy for getting more career-ready graduates for the dollars they have, and the NGA Policy Academy will focus on helping states build that strategy.”

Photo courtesy of UNLV.

“Having good performance metrics is important, but it is not enough,” said Dane Linn, director of the NGA Center for Best Practice’s Education Division. “Governors and other policymakers must be equipped to use performance measures, whether in developing budgets, approving or evaluating programs or deciding how or whether to regulate administrative and academic services. This Policy Academy will help states focus on those measures.”

Gov. Brian Sandoval said: “Nevada is diligently working to improve accountability systems and measures throughout the K-12 system and this Policy Academy will enable us to expand that work through the higher education realm.”.

The work will complement the Legislature’s interim funding study, he said.

“As always, higher education’s goals have been focused on continuous improvement in how we educate our students and how we help Nevada’s economy prosper,” said Dan Klaich, chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education. “I’m excited we were selected for the Complete to Compete Initiative and I am looking forward to working with the governor and representatives of the Legislature to define accountability metrics that will support our ongoing initiatives related to student success and effectiveness and efficiency.”

NSHE Chancellor Dan Klaich.

The NGA Policy Academy is aimed at improving post-secondary education accountability systems and consists of two workshops, technical assistance from NGA Center staff, and grants of up to $30,000 per state for additional expertise.

The academy is designed to help states strengthen their post-secondary education systems by focusing on efficiency and effectiveness metrics in their accountability systems and incorporating those metrics into their decision making processes.

The NGA Center will help selected states in their efforts to review and revamp their existing state post-secondary accountability system. States will also work with the NGA Center to identify ways to use efficiency and effectiveness metrics as part of the state’s higher education policy agenda.

Funding for the academy is provided by the Lumina Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Nevada’s governor-appointed state team consists of: Heidi Gansert, chief of staff to Sandoval; Julia Teska, a budget analyst from the Department of Administration; Denice Miller, vice president of government relations, MGM Resorts International; Assemblyman Marcus Conklin, D-Las Vegas; Klaich; and Neal Smatresk, president of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Rural Lawmakers Could Pay High Price For Backing Governor On Budget

By Andrew Doughman | 4:15 pm April 22nd, 2011

CARSON CITY – Nevada’s rural Republican legislators are struggling to defend the cuts to their communities in the governor’s budget.

Democrats have been showcasing cuts to the rural counties in order to convince rural Republican legislators that a vote for tax increases is a vote to mitigate the harm to their districts.

Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, said that rural counties are already “cut to the bone,” and in many cases could lose all that they have left.

“Are they willing to be so loyal that they hurt the very constituents that elected them?” Horsford asked.

Many of the governor’s budget cuts would affect rural counties. The budget reduces the money going to rural health clinics or shifts that responsibility to county governments. Many clinics and college campuses that have branched out into the countryside are slated to consolidate to more populated areas.

So far, these cuts have not pushed any rural Republicans to voice anything but support for Gov. Brian Sandoval’s proposed general fund budget.

“There’s nobody blinking, so to speak, from the rural areas about increasing taxes,” said Sen. Dean Rhoads, R-Tuscarora.

Rural legislators say they understand they must share in the cuts, but that the cuts should be fair. For some Democrats, though, that means rural counties need to shoulder more of the burden.

 

Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, here speaking before the Senate, has highlighted impacts of Gov. Brian Sandoval's proposed budget. "I'm particularly concerned about the impact to the rural and underserved communities," he said today./PHOTO: Andrew Doughman, Nevada News Bureau

This Monday, Assemblyman William Horne, D-Las Vegas, said that Washoe and Clark counties have to subsidize the rural counties.

“A lot of you come from areas of the state that are taking from the largest counties of the state,” he said to his fellow legislators in the Assembly chambers.

Horsford has argued that it is unfair for the state to divert property tax revenue from Clark and Washoe counties to the University of Nevada, Reno and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas when counties like Elko and Eureka, beneficiaries of Great Basin College, do not.

The governor’s staff has said that Washoe and Clark counties benefit economically from the state’s two universities and should therefore pay more to support them.

“If you close Great Basin College, which does mining and other training to the mining industry, if you close that campus, that’s going to have a tremendous economic impact to that region,” said Horsford, who earlier urged the Board of Regents to consider closing campuses to save money. “So to suggest that there’s no economic benefit to those rural communities either by underfunding or funding their programs, I’m not understanding their logic.”

The governor’s chief of staff, Heidi Gansert, said that Washoe and Clark counties have more money. The governor is asking all counties to pay for a greater share of health services, but she said the two largest counties can shoulder that burden and rural counties cannot.

Despite this defense, budget cuts in rural counties worried Sandoval enough that he traveled to Elko this past Saturday to listen to concerns from county officials and state legislators.

Rhoads said he had personal chats with the governor during the flights to and from Elko. They discussed cuts to the Wells Honor Camp and the rural bookmobile program. Rhoads said the governor told him he would “add back” funding for these services if the state receives more revenue as the economic recovery inches forward.

“He’s looking at amending this stuff back in now,” said Assemblyman John Ellison, R-Elko, who also met with the governor in Elko this past Saturday. “I think at the end of the day … I’m hoping it’ll be fair.”

From left to right, Assemblyman John Ellison, R-Elko, Senator Dean Rhoads, R-Tuscarora, and Assemblyman Tom Grady, R-Yerington, watch Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., address the Legislature earlier this week. Gov. Brian Sandoval visited Rhoads and Ellison earlier this week to discuss budget cuts to rural districts. /PHOTO: Andrew Doughman, Nevada News Bureau

Budget Battle Could Pit Urban Against Rural

Sandoval has said before that the Legislature is free to move money around within his budget. As long as the $5.8 billion arrives at his desk without taxes and fee increases, he will sign it.

“If you don’t want to spend more in this account and move it to that account, that’s the Legislature’s prerogative,” said Dale Erquiaga, the governor’s senior adviser, at a press briefing earlier this week.

But Erquiaga later suggested that policy decisions “pitting urban against rural” would be bad for the state.

“I don’t think he [Sandoval] has given a carte blanche,” said Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Gardnerville, suggesting the governor would not sign a budget that overtly hammers rural Republican districts.

Given the magnitude of the governor’s proposed cuts, it is unlikely that any one legislator would be spared cuts to his or her district.

“As long as we’re not taking more than their [urban legislators'] share, everyone is willing to do their part,” said Senate Minority Leader Mike McGinness, R-Fallon.

But what is “fair” is a matter of debate. Just like in Congress, legislators will try to do what they can for their districts. This time, though, that is less a matter of bringing home the bacon than it is of saving the farmhouse.

State entities, however, may have an monetary incentive to favor urban districts. Centralizing services in cities could save money while reaching the majority of Nevadans.

“We’ll offer fewer classes at fewer locations,” said Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Dan Klaich. “In particular, this could impact rural locations that could suffer as our colleges focus on serving the greatest number of students.”

That pressure, however, does not mean rural legislators are pushing to be first in line to vote for a tax increase.

“Most of my constituents have indicated that in these tough times we have to make some cuts,” Settelmeyer said. “Most of them have told me they would prefer to make tough choices [over raising taxes].”

The cuts, though, still could become a bargaining chip. The governor has said he wants “shared sacrifice,” but the Legislature could end up with an Animal Farm scenario in which all cuts are equal, but some cuts are more equal than others.

***UPDATED April 23, 2011 to reflect  that no NSHE entities are fully closing, although some satellite campuses may close.***

Debate Over State Budget ‘End Game’ Suggests Compromise Far Off

By Andrew Doughman | 7:38 pm April 18th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Assemblyman Pat Hickey, R-Reno, wanted honesty about the Legislature’s budget “end game,” and he got it.

At a legislative town hall featuring 21 lobbyists, lawmakers and business leaders, the candid comments from panelists seemed to suggest a looming budget compromise is a fool’s hope.

“You’re not going to get a tax increase through this Senate,” said Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas, one of the panelists. “You’re simply not going to get it.”

He clashed again with AFL-CIO lobbyist and co-panelist Danny Thompson. Now both men have said they are “offended” by what the other has said about collective bargaining. Roberson’s bill to change collective bargaining law died in committee last week.

Hickey gave each panelist about five minutes to speak, which was enough time for each panelist to repeat a few key talking points.

“It seemed business as usual,” said Jim Cooley, lobbyist for the Nevada Libertarian Party. “It was basically, ‘this is my pitch.’”

Each speaker brought his or her own expertise to the discussion. But the debate was framed by the needs and wants of each participant.

Washoe County Superintendent Heath Morrison called for education reforms paired with more funding than Gov. Brian Sandoval has proposed in his general fund budget.

“We must improve education,” Morrison said. “Only by providing an educated workforce are businesses going to want to come to Nevada and stay in Nevada.”

Chuck Muth, conservative activist for Citizen Outreach, maintained his firm stance against new taxes.

“It is no longer sufficient to say that the government needs to do more with less,” Muth said. “It is time for us to start saying that the government needs to do less with less.”

Heidi Gansert, Sandoval’s chief of staff, did her best to put a new spin on the talking points representatives from the governor’s office have used to defend the budget since its January release.

“We recognize that there are some very difficult cuts,” Gansert said. “It’s time that we have to do that.”

Hickey organized the town hall meeting to bring a diverse crowd to one place to debate, as the title of the forum suggested, “the recession, revenues and Nevada’s recovery.” He said earlier that he wanted Nevada’s political players to put their “cards on the table.”

At least one lobbyist in the audience said he was discouraged that the cards the players revealed today were the same hands they were holding two months ago.

“I think it shows how firm both sides are in their positions, which means we probably are not playing for an end game in that first week of June,” said Paul Enos, a lobbyist for the Nevada Motor Transport Association.

Former Republican Sen. Randolph Townsend spoke at the event and channeled his colleague, former Republican Sen. Bill Raggio, in calling for more respect in the legislative debate.

“Deal only with the issue in front of you,” he said. “Don’t tie the issue to the person … the day you make it personal you lose … It’s a lot harder to become vitriolic when it’s somebody you know.”

Members of the public also joined by watching online or attending the town hall at the Legislature. Robert Stransbury, 64, is a retired teacher and Carson City resident who listened to the debate from the Legislature.

“I took away that there’s some very strong opinions on opposing sides,” he said. “I hope that they can agree and come together and get a budget.”

To that end, Townsend had some advice for the current legislators struggling to do more than cobble together a budget at the last minute.

“Once in awhile you have to walk out of the [legislative] building, breathe the clean air and try to get a different perspective, and right now that is what the building needs,” he said.

The 120-day legislative session is scheduled to end during the first week of June.

 

Assemblyman Asks Lawmakers To Put “Cards On The Table” In Forum Today

By Andrew Doughman | 12:47 pm April 18th, 2011

CARSON CITY — Assemblyman Pat Hickey, R-Sparks, is asking other legislators to “lay your cards on the table.”

As the budget debate in Carson City roils to no discernible conclusion, Hickey is bringing 21 lawmakers, business leadersa and academics to the Legislature to talk taxes and government reform.

“This forum will help get out into the open things that have only been talked about behind closed doors,” Hickey said. “As moderator, I plan to press participants to speak openly about the ‘end game’ here this session.”

That end game has traditionally involved closed door meetings between legislative leadership.

Hickey will moderate the “Recession, Revenues and Nevada’s Recovery” panel today between 3 – 5 p.m. at the Legislature. Viewers online can watch here.

Hickey said he would like to have a serious discussion in public that could evolve into legislative negotiations about the budget.

At the very least, the diversity of voices at the forum should provide an interesting sideshow to the day-in, day-out legislative hearings and committees.

Speaking at the forum span nearly every position on the tax debate. Politically, Hickey’s guests span the spectrum from left to right and include representatives from unions and contractors, free-market libertarians and progressive groups, chambers of commerce and school districts.

Hickey’s forum is not the only change in the legislative end game.

This year, Democratic leaders in the Assembly and Senate have said they will conduct budget hearings in the Assembly and Senate chambers. They say the move will lead to more transparency and include more legislators in budget discussions.

As first reported in the Las Vegas Sun, the change could prompt legislators toward a budget battle over education.

The Legislature has 49 days remaining to conclude its session, pass a budget and finish the drawing of political districts as required every 10 years by the U.S. Census.

 

Panelists for the “Recession, Revenues and Nevada’s Recovery” include:

Heidi Gansert, the governor’s chief of staff

Speaker Pro Tempore Debbie Smith, D-Sparks

Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas

Tray Abney, Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce

Carole Vilardo – Nevada Taxpayers Association

Dr. Elliott Parker – UNR economist

Clara Andriola – Associated Builders and Contractors

Geoffrey Lawrence – Nevada Policy Research Institute economist

Dr. Heath Morrison – Washoe County School District superintendent

Mary Lau – Retail Association of Nevada

Dr. Tyrus Cobb – former assistant to President Ronald Reagan

Neil Medina – Northern Nevada Contractor

Jim Pfrommer – Education Alliance of Washoe County

Former Sen. Randolph Townsend

Assemblyman Crescent Hardy, R-Mesquite

Assemblyman Ira Hansen, R-Sparks

Bob Fulkerson, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada

Chuck Muth – Citizen Outreach

Dave Humke – Washoe County Commissioner

Danny Thompson – AFL-CIO union representative

Norm Dianda – Q&D Construction

Governor’s Salary Cuts To Include Teachers, Higher-Ed Employees

By Andrew Doughman | 2:59 pm January 13th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Gov. Brian Sandoval’s staff today clarified that the proposed five percent salary reductions announced yesterday includes teachers and higher-education employees.

Slashing salaries saves the state $592 million over two years when taking into account continued longevity and merit pay suspensions.

Like the governor’s proposed higher-education cuts, the governor’s staff has said it will hand over a budget reflecting the salary decreases and let school districts and Board of Regents decide what to do.

It’s going to be up to, of course, the school districts whether they want to cut the pay for all school district employees,” said Heidi Gansert, the governor’s chief of staff, during an afternoon press briefing. “We pass a law that reflects a five percent cut, but it’s up to the school districts to bargain.”

Although school districts have contractual obligations regarding pay, Gansert also said that contract negotiations are starting at both the K-12 and higher-education levels.

The governor’s staff also clarified that while contribution rates to the Public Employee Retirement system are set to increase,the rates will be applied against the lower salary.


Audio Clip: 011311Gansert :13 of staff too.”

Ha

By Elizabeth Crum | 10:17 am March 5th, 2010

Ralston’s column today – more of a breezy best-of-the-week wrap-up – was good.  And funny.

Jerry Brown might run for mayor of Las Vegas:

On the program this week, Brown, annoyingly saying he anticipated the question, tried an initial dodge by talking about how focused he is on the city’s budget problems. Undaunted, I pressed on and he acknowledged, “I have been approached.”

(Side note: We always hear that line about being approached, as if it would sound too egomaniacal to have thought of it yourself. Who are these people who always “approach” folks to run for office? Is it always the same people who “approach” these potential candidates? Or are there roving gangs of approachers?)

The four contenders for Rory Reid’s County Commission chair were terrible:

Is this all they have? I know it’s early (although the primary is only 95 days hence), but I was quite distressed (it happens every two years) by the performance Wednesday night of the four leading contenders to replace County Commissioner Rory Reid. I will not single out any of them — state Sen. David Parks, union stalwart Greg Esposito, ex-School Board Member Mary Beth Scow and Planning Commissioner Ron Newell. They were, as a group, awful.

Awful how? you wonder.

If you walked into the Painters Hall where the Henderson Democratic Club met, you would have thought you had stumbled into a Clichés, Evasions and Pabulum Convention.

Gansert is leaving, and so are a lot of others:

Second, while there is always significant turnover in the Legislature from session to session, the changes come 2011 could be unprecedented. Because of term limits, retirements and electoral defeats, you may have half of each chamber populated by rookies.

Luckily, there are no huge or complicated issues on the docket for the 2011 Legislature.