Task force votes on budget fix-it list

Most members of a 15-person task force think Clark County should trim wages, slash some jobs and lessen University Medical Center’s burden on taxpayers.

The Committee on Community Priorities voted Thursday on strategies for dealing with the county’s growing shortfall, which is expected to reach $126 million next budget year. The vote, done with unsigned 15-page ballots, caps off months of talks.

County staff will compile the recommendations into a report and present it to commissioners later this month.

Panel members sifted through dozens, perhaps hundreds, of strategies for reducing costs and boosting efficiency.

Many agreed with one option that said wages take up $1.2 billion of the county’s $1.5 billion general fund, and so the only way to really reduce costs is to cut staff hours, wages and benefits.

Virtually all members favored consolidating services to eliminate redundant jobs. They differed, though, on which services should be merged.

Most thought the Fire Department’s wages were too high. Some voted to put a clause in all county labor contracts that would require reduced pay during extreme economic hardship.

"I hope the County Commission takes our votes to heart," said panel member Michael Holloway, a manager at Poggemeyer Design Group Inc. "I’m sorry there will be some suffering, but that’s what’s happening across the country."

Two of the panel’s labor leaders refused to vote.

They argued that the ballot was stacked too heavily toward reducing wages, benefits and jobs. In a three-page rebuttal they accused county managers of imposing an anti-labor agenda on the panel and pushing it away from its original goal of prioritizing services.

"It was clear from the start that this committee was being used by county management to push their agenda of placing the burden of the financial problems on the backs of rank-and-file workers," wrote Al Martinez, president of Service Employees International Union Local 1107.

David Peter, another SEIU representative, co-signed the rebuttal.

Panelists received the voting packets last week to give them time to study the options. Each page contains a category such as "consolidation within county operations" or "staffing/resource reductions." And each category has a list of possible actions.

Panel members ranked the recommendations they liked and could cast votes for multiple options in each category. Though the ballots were unsigned, county staff said each was labeled with the name of the person casting the ballot. The Nevada open meeting law requires that deliberations be made in public.

A half-dozen members voted to sell UMC to a for-profit company. Most, however, favored retaining a business structure that would allow the hospital to continue offering charity care.

Michael Collins, a UMC nurse, said the hospital gets bad publicity but people should remember the service it provides.

Police officers who are wounded are brought to UMC, as are terminally ill patients, Collins told the panel Thursday.

When asked what the mood was like among hospital employees, Collins replied, "People are scared."

Nurses and other skilled employees oppose having their pay cut because their jobs demand a lot of education and training, he said.

Nearly all committee members wanted to rein in firefighters’ overtime. Some thought the Fire Department should be reorganized, some thought it should be audited and others believed the solution is to hire more firefighters.

A few voted for "brown-outs," a term for shutting down some fire stations for a day. Some wanted to slash firefighters’ paramedic duties and assign all emergency care to ambulance companies. And several preferred to consolidate all fire departments in the valley without being required to take the most lucrative labor contract.

Panel member George Togliatti, a Mandalay Bay security officer, questioned whether park police were necessary. He argued that the Metropolitan Police Department could patrol parks.

Most members voted to leave family services at its current staffing and funding level. Only a couple supported merging family services and social services.

Finance, parks and business licensing were commonly marked for consolidation. Several members even recommended merging the municipal courts.

Cornelius Eason, a panel member and president of Priority Staffing, said layoffs must be done with care.

"You can only cut so much before you get into the muscle of the organization," Eason said.

Contact reporter Scott Wyland at swyland@reviewjournal.com or 702-455-4519.

ad-high_impact_4
News
Achievement School District
The achievement district faced strong opposition from traditional schools back in its beginnings in 2016. But with schools like Nevada Rise and Nevada Prep, it's slowly and steadily growing. Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The annual 'Shop with a Cop' event at Target
This year’s "Shop with a Cop" event gave about 40 children the chance to shop at Target alongside a North Las Vegas Police officers. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Bizutesfaye
Melvin Dummar dead at 74
Melvin Dummar has died at 74. Dummar was famous for claiming to have saved Howard Hughes in a Nevada desert in 1967. Dummar claimed to have been left $156 million in Hughes’ will. The will mysteriously appeared after Hughes’ death in 1976. It was dismissed as a fake two years later. Dummar never saw a dime of the billionaire's fortune. Dummar died Saturday in Nye County.
Officer-involved shooting in Nye County
The Nye County Sheriff's Office gives information about a shooting in Pahrump on Thursday night after a man began firing shots outside of his home. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Law Enforcement Active Shooter Training Exercise
Multiple Las Vegas Valley law enforcement agencies held an active shooter drill at the Department of Public Safety’s Parole and Probation office on December 6, 2018. Officials set up the training exercise to include multiple active shooters, a barricaded suspect and multiple casualties. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Public memorial service for Jerry Herbst
Archiving effort hits milestone at Clark County Museum
The Clark County Museum catalogs the final item from the bulk of Route 91 Harvest festival artifacts. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Final Route 91 Harvest festival remembrance objects catalogued at Clark County Museum
The last of the more than 17,000 items left at the makeshift memorial near the Las Vegas sign after the Oct. 1 shootings have been catalogued at the Clark County Museum in Las Vegas. The final item was a black-and-white bumper sticker bearing "#VEGASSTRONG. An additional 200 items currently on display at the museum will be catalogued when the exhibit comes down. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dozier execution timeline
Scott Dozier was set to be executed July 11, 2018, at the Ely State Prison. Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez delayed the execution.
Grand Jury Indicts Constable for theft
A Clark County grand jury indicted Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell. A Las Vegas Review-Journal investigation prompted the criminal probe. The newspaper found Mitchell wrote himself thousands in checks, took out cash at ATMs and traveled on county funds. He faces four felony counts of theft and a county of public misconduct. Mitchell and his attorney could not be reached for comment.
93-year-old WWII veteran arrested during visit to VA hospital
Dr. S. Jay Hazan, 93, a World War II veteran, talks about his arrest during his visit to VA hospital on Friday, Nov. 30. (Erik Verduzco Las Vegas Review-Journal @Erik_Verduzco_
Pearl Harbor survivor struggles in her senior years
Winifred Kamen, 77, survived the attack on Pearl Harbor as an infant, works a 100 percent commission telemarketing job to make ends meet. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Metropolitan Briefing 18th street gang
Las Vegas Metropolitan briefs the media on the recent arrests made regarding the 18th street gang.
Man shot in Las Vegas traffic stop had knife, police say
Police said the man fatally shot by an officer during a traffic stop in downtown Las Vegas had a “homemade knife.” Demontry Floytra Boyd, 43, died Saturday at University Medical Center from multiple gunshot wounds after officer Paul Bruning, 48, shot him during a traffic stop. Bruning pulled Boyd over on suspicion of driving recklessly at 7:41 a.m. near Sunrise Avenue and 18th Street.
Catahoula dogs rescued from home in Moapa Valley
Catahoula dogs were brought to The Animal Foundation after being rescued from home in Moapa Valley.
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses in California wildfire
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses she suffered in California's Woolsey Fire in Malibu in November. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benefit dinner for Kerry Clasby, the Intuitive Forager
Sonia El-Nawal of Rooster Boy Cafe in Las Vegas talks about having a benefit for Kerry Clasby, known as the Intuitive Forager, who suffered losses on her farm in California’s Woolsey Fire in Malibu. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former President George H.W. Bush dies at 94
Former President George H.W. Bush has died at the age of 94. He died Friday night in Houston, about eight months after the death of his wife, Barbara.
Las Vegans Celebrate Big Snowfall
Las Vegans celebrate big snowfall at Lee Canyon.
Exploring old mines for denim jeans and other vintage items
Caden Gould of Genoa, Nev. talks about his experiences looking for vintage denim jeans and other items in old mines and other places areas across Nevada and the west.
Officers share photo of dead gunman after Las Vegas shooting
A little over an hour after SWAT officers entered Stephen Paddock's suite at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas police officers far from the scene were already sharing cell phone photos of the dead Oct. 1 gunman.
Frontier jet safely returns to Las Vegas after losing engine piece
Frontier jet safely returns to Las Vegas after losing engine piece. (@FlightAlerts_)
Park Service plans ahead for lower lake levels
National Park Service releases new plans to maintain access to the water as Lake Mead continues to shrink.
Women claim abuse at Florence McClure Women's Correctional Facility
Current and ex-inmates, including Merry West, are suing Florence McClure Women’s Correctional Facility, claiming abuse and inadequate medical care. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Butte County Sheriff's Office Body Cam Footage
Bodycam video from Butte County (Calif.) Sheriff's Office Deputy Aaron Parmley, who was in Paradise November 8 helping with evacuations. (Butte County Sheriff's Office)
NDOT construction blasting along State Route 106
NDOT construction blasting along State Route 160, near Mt. Potosi Road, in Clark County as part of a $59 million, 6-mile-long highway widening project that began this summer. (Nevada Department of Transportation)
Car crashes into Papa Murphy's Pizza shop
A driver crashed a car into a western Las Vegas Valley pizza shop on Tuesday morning, police said. (Joe Stanhibel/Special to Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Low-lake-level pumping station nears completion
Barnard Construction and the Southern Nevada Water Authority give one last tour before the new low-lake-level pumping station is activated.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like