Gibbons aide says group can't interfere with decision to hire clerk

CARSON CITY — An aide to Gov. Jim Gibbons said today the Legislature's Interim Finance Committee has no authority to act on the governor's decision to spend $257,000 to hire a Clark County deputy recorder to oversee Nevada's receipt of $2.2 billion in federal stimulus dollars.

"I don't know how they can act on it when we have already done legally what we needed to do," said Deputy Chief of Staff Stacy Woodbury. "We moved forward."

Her comments are a good indication that a spat between Gibbons and Democratic legislators over who controls stimulus funds is far from over.

Woodbury said her office sent requests to state Controller Kim Wallin earlier this week regarding spending funds to hire Charles Harvey and an assistant to oversee the use of the stimulus funds.

Instead of processing that request, Wallin sent the matter to the Legislature's Interim Finance Committee, which scheduled an 8:30 a.m. Monday hearing to discuss the expenditure, according to Woodbury.

"Her (Wallin's) duty is to punch the keys (for the expenditure) into the state accounting system," said Woodbury, contending the governor does not need approval of the legislative committee on spending of any stimulus money.

Harvey's salary will come from administrative costs that the state is permitted to take upon receiving the stimulus money.

Woodbury said the administration does not intend to "snub the IFC" and fail to show up for the Monday hearing, but having to seek IFC approval before spending stimulus funds only delays getting money into the hands of people who need it.

During an Aug. 3 meeting, the legislative committee, controlled by Democrats, rejected a request by Gibbons to place the stimulus funds director in his office.

In order to have a better check and balance controls over the money, the committee voted to place the funds in Wallin's office.