Posts Tagged ‘state contract’

Audit Revealing “Double Dipping” Employees Spurs Legislation

By Andrew Doughman | 6:19 pm March 8th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Speaker Pro Tempore Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, wants better reporting on state contracts with consultants.

She said an audit last December proved that lax reporting requirements had allowed many consultants to profit from taxpayers as they escaped legislative scrutiny.

She asked the auditing staff how she could improve oversight of consultants. They recommended removing references to consultants in favor of defining “contract” broadly. So that is what Smith wrote into her bill.

“People figure out loopholes and somebody abuses them, and that’s bad for everybody,” Smith said.

Salaries earned by current and former state employees working as contractors for state agencies, a practice called “double dipping,” was the subject of a critical Legislative Counsel Bureau audit released late last year. The audit identified 51 current and former state employees working at 14 different agencies as contractors doing work similar to their duties as state employees during the audit period of fiscal years 2008 and 2009.

A Nevada News Bureau inquiry probed into allegations that one of those employees was earning $350 per hour.

Smith’s bill would cover most contracts with state agencies.

The bill, however, exempts contracts related to school districts, Medicaid and the Public Employees Benefits Program from her bill.

Smith said that the Medicaid and Public Employees Benefits Program contracts pass through other oversight that the Legislature need not take up.

“It will involve every contract that needs to be considered,” she said.

A Board of Examiners comprising some of the state’s constitutional officers vet those larger contracts.

Smith highlighted her bill at a press conference earlier this afternoon. She joined several other Democratic legislators who also paraded bills they are championing before members of the press this afternoon.

The bill has bipartisanship sponsorship.

Audio Clip

Assemblywoman Debbie Smith talking about how her bill increases accountability:

030811Smith:15 our state well