Posts Tagged ‘Labor Commissioner’

State Apprenticeship Council Meeting Cancelled For Lack Of Quorum

By Sean Whaley | 3:09 pm March 20th, 2012

CARSON CITY – A meeting of the State Apprenticeship Council was cancelled today because of a lack of a quorum, and the chairman of the panel said the appointed members will be surveyed to ensure they can commit to attending the quarterly meetings.

The council, which had a lengthy agenda published and noticed, with staff from the state Labor Commissioner present at the teleconferenced meeting between the capital and Las Vegas, had to adjourn without taking any action because two members representing the employer community on the seven-member panel, were not present.

Photo from FEMA via Wikimedia Commons.

Kevin Christensen, a Las Vegas attorney and chairman of the council representing the general public, said the meeting could have been rescheduled if members had advised him they would be unable to attend.

Rebecca Massingill with NV Energy and Dana Wiggins with the Las Vegas chapter of the Associated General Contractors were not present for the meeting. Neither could be reached for comment.

Minutes show Massingill did not attend the December 2011 Apprenticeship Council meeting either.

Christensen said that rules for the council require at least two of three appointees of both employers and employees be present to establish a quorum to conduct business. So even though there were five members of the council present, there was no quorum.

“We’ve struggled to establish a quorum a couple of times during the last year, and maybe two years, and I don’t know what the personal circumstances are of those who are not here today,” he said today before cancelling the meeting.

Christensen asked that the council members be surveyed by staff to ensure they can commit to attending the meetings, which are set in advance.

“And if they can’t make that commitment then we would ask the labor commissioner to replace,” he said. “I believe we have basis for replacement for cause for failure to appear if that’s a continuing issue, and it has been.

“Because this is a waste of public time and money,” he said. “Had we known there wouldn’t be a majority we could have cancelled this meeting and rescheduled to another date.”

The State Apprenticeship Council was established to administer the apprenticeship laws and regulations of the State of Nevada. The next meeting is set for May 10, when the items on today’s agenda will be taken up. The seven members are appointed by the state labor commissioner, and are paid $80 a meeting.


Audio clips:

Apprenticeship Council Chairman Kevin Christensen says the meeting could have been rescheduled if members had indicated they could not attend:

032012Christensen1 :13 to another date.”

Christensen says council members will be surveyed to ensure they can attend the four meetings a year:

032012Christensen2 :38 it has been.”



Nevada GOP Assembly Members Call For Suspension of Prevailing Wage on Public Construction

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 2:54 pm October 7th, 2010

CARSON CITY – Members of the Republican Assembly Caucus today called on state Labor Commissioner Michael Tanchek to delay implementation of a new prevailing wage rate in Nevada until the Legislature has an opportunity to review the methodology.

The caucus is concerned a flawed process resulted in the new prevailing wage rate that took effect Oct. 1. There is a 30-day period to file an objection.

In a letter sent to the commissioner, the caucus is challenging the legitimacy of increases to the wage on public construction when the wage rates on private construction have decreased with current market conditions.

“When the wage rates being paid on public works projects are 43 percent higher on average than wage rates being paid in the private sector, something is wrong with the formula,” said Assembly Minority Leader Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka. “All of us support a fair wage for those who do public construction but in these economic times we cannot afford a more than fair wage.”

According to an analysis done by the caucus, the average prevailing wage has gone up about 3 percent statewide with gains in some counties being offset by decreases in the rural counties. However, in Carson City where much of the construction for state government is performed, the proposed rate increase is nearly 8.5 percent.

“No one will dispute that the wage rate being paid by the private sector has gone down based on current economic conditions,” said Assemblyman James Settelmeyer, R-Gardnerville. “And Nevada’s own Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation’s reported wage rate confirms that, so how in the world can we have an increase in the cost of public construction labor? A flawed methodology for determining the rate, that’s how.”

The letter to Tanchek is a formal protest to the rates recently released by his office.

Tanchek was not immediately available for comment on the letter.

The letter says: “Frankly, we are stunned that in this economic environment where private sector construction has, for all intents and purposes, come to a complete halt, the average prevailing wage rate for public construction in Nevada could be increased.”

“We recognize that your office simply collects and reports this information based on a formula prescribed in state law,” the letter says. “However, given the unprecedented economic crisis we find ourselves in, the record unemployment we face and the staggering budget shortfall that will confront us in the next session, we felt compelled to submit this protest as a way to begin a public dialogue on this outrageous situation.”

State law requires the commissioner to survey contractors who have performed construction work during the past year in order to determine the prevailing wage rates. Prevailing wage rates are required to be paid on all Nevada public works construction projects such as schools, libraries, roads and government buildings costing more than $100,000.

The information obtained from the surveys is loaded into a computer program which calculates the prevailing wage rates on a county-by-county, job classification basis.

If no rates are reported for a craft in a county, the commissioner must rely on wage rates as reported for the nearest county that has a rate. Many times a low-population county can end up with the same rate as established in Clark County for a particular craft because no rural numbers were reported.

Goicoechea said: “We are faced with unprecedented economic challenges in this state. We have record high unemployment, we have implemented state worker furloughs, and we have asked our state agency heads to renegotiate contracts where possible; how can we, in good conscience, allow the cost of public construction to increase?”

“We all want to create new jobs, especially in construction, but simple economics dictates that if you overpay those currently working, the result is fewer new jobs,” Settelmeyer said.