Public employees still managing to double dip in Legislature

Inevitably, readers ask how public employees still manage to get paid their public salaries while working full time in the Nevada Legislature for four months. Usually, they have someone specific in mind, and this enquiry was aimed at Assembly Majority Leader John Oceguera, who works for the North Las Vegas Fire Department.

Much has been written about Oceguera, who during his first four sessions, got a paycheck by trading shifts with others so he could keep getting his salary. They’d work his shift, he’d get paid and he’d end up working shifts for other firefighters once the session was over.

Now he's an assisant chief for the department.  “This time it’s different,” he said. So prior to the session he and his bosses tried to figure out how to deal with the issue of getting a salary on top of the paltry $7,800 he’s paid as a legislator.

He works a 36-hour week as an assistant chief, so each week, he said he takes 18 hours of vacation and works 18 hours, part of it while he’s in Carson City doing reports and answering 200 to 300 work-related emails a week. Then he said he’s at the office on Saturdays and Sundays.

In 2005, when Dina Titus was a state senator and UNLV political science professor, she sponsored a bill saying that public employees would have to take an unpaid leave of absence (as she did). The bill had no trouble passing out of the Senate, where there weren’t so many public employees in that august body. But once it hit the Assembly, her bill went into neverland  and never came up for a vote in the Committee on Elections, Procedures, Ethics and Constitutional Amendments.

Of course, at that time the Assembly Speaker was Richard Perkins, a public employee himself with the Henderson Police Department, who managed to get a paycheck from Henderson while at the Legislature. Kinda knew that bill was DOA.