Gov. Gibbons considers laying off workers to deal with budget shortfall

Layoffs of state workers are possible as Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons finalizes a budget-cutting plan to deal with a looming $285 million revenue shortfall, a spokeswoman says.

Agencies have been submitting plans for budget cuts of up to 8 percent, and Melissa Subbotin said, "In some cases, that may include reducing a certain number of positions."

In court documents filed Wednesday in response to a Reno newspaper's lawsuit seeking details of the cutback plans, state Budget Director Andrew Clinger argued for secrecy by saying many problems could develop if workers learn "prematurely" that they may lose their jobs.

Clinger said such employees "would become insecure, might opt for early retirement, might resign in favor of more secure employment, might feel betrayed or unappreciated ... and might engage in aggressive or passive aggressive behavior in the workplace."

A final decision on the plans by Gibbons is expected in early January.

Top Nevada Assembly Democrats joined Wednesday in the lawsuit, saying the public needs to know what's in the plans being considered by the Republican governor.

Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley and Ways and Means Chairman Morse Arberry of Las Vegas, joined by Ways and Means Vice-Chairwoman Sheila Leslie of Reno, said the interests of those seeking access to the documents outweighs any government interest in keeping them secret.

Clinger is meeting this week with state agency directors and the governor's office to look over the plans, which started out as 5 percent cuts but then increased to 8 percent - a move that would reduce agency spending from the state's $6.8 billion budget by $285 million. The governor also ordered a state hiring freeze.


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