Assembly committee wants to end Kirkland’s ‘double dip’ | NevadaAppeal.com

Assembly committee wants to end Kirkland’s ‘double dip’

by Geoff Dornan, Appeal Capitol Bureau

The Assembly Government Affairs Committee has recommended passage of a bill to take away the salary-retirement “double dip” enjoyed by Public Safety Director Dick Kirkland and his chief deputy, Dave Kieckbusch.

Kirkland and Kieckbusch’s positions were designated as “critical” by Gov. Kenny Guinn and the Board of Examiners. The two leaders are allowed to collect their salaries and also their retirement pay under the Public Employees Retirement System. Both have substantial retirement benefits after 30 years as Reno police officers.

For Kirkland, it means about $70,000 a year on top of his $101,301 a year as Public Safety director.

The law was passed by the 2001 Legislature to make it easier for school districts to keep talented veteran teachers who had reached the point where their retirement pay was so high — up to 90 percent of salary — that it didn’t make sense for them to stay in the classroom. Many of those teachers said they would like to stay if they could collect both salary and retirement but, if not, they would retire, collect their benefits and get a different type of job.

It also provided a way for other governmental entities do the same to keep veteran workers on the job.

While the school districts have largely used the legislation the way it was intended, a number of legislators objected when the governor pushed the “critical” designation for Kirkland and his chief deputy. Former Government Affairs Chairman Doug Bache requested AB450, saying the idea was never to give a special pay boost to state administrators.

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AB450 specifically denies the “critical” designation for administrative heads of any state, local or school district division or agency as well as any “immediate deputy or assistant of such an administrative head.”

And it orders the retirement system stop paying retirement to anyone in that position as of Oct. 1.

The bill goes to the floor of the Assembly for a vote.

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