Attorneys rebut ethics charges

CARSON CITY -- Attorneys for a state official facing a Nevada Ethics Commission hearing into allegations that he gave himself and his staff unauthorized pay increases contend he acted properly and did not seek "unwarranted advantages" for himself.

Attorneys Judy Sheldrew and Tom Perkins made the comments in a formal response to the accusations against Bob Loux, who recently resigned as chief of the agency fighting federal plans for a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. He is staying on until a replacement is chosen.

In the response, the attorneys said Loux is not ducking responsibility for mistakes and "errors in judgment" but added he complied with all requirements for the raises, which were reviewed and approved by "appropriate state entities."

The attorneys also said salary schedules for the state Nuclear Projects Agency, released by Gov. Jim Gibbons' office, are "inaccurate, inflated and do not represent actual salaries" paid to Loux and his staff.

A two-member Ethics Commission panel, reviewing a complaint filed by Assembly Minority Leader Heidi Gansert, R-Reno, said last week that enough evidence exists to warrant a full commission hearing on whether Loux violated ethical standards in giving himself and his staff pay raises.

At the hearing, tentatively set for Jan. 8, the commission will decide whether to find Loux guilty of several counts of raising his own pay without authorization and giving his employees unapproved salary increases.


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