Benefits board appointments announced

Jacque Ewing-Taylor will return to the Public Employee Benefits Program board to represent university system employees.

Taylor, a research fellow at the Raggio Research Center at the University of Nevada, Reno, was originally told she would not be appointed to a second four-year term in the position because of her advocacy for expanding benefits to domestic partners, both same and opposite sex. That benefits expansion has been requested by the university system for some five years. They say it's necessary as a recruiting tool because most state university systems around the West offer domestic partner benefits.

Jim Gibbons objected to the proposal, citing its potential cost " up to $7 million over the biennium. He originally declined to reappoint either Taylor or Ron Swirczek, who represented retirees on the public benefits board.

Advocates among the various employee groups joined the university system in arguing for Taylor, saying she has been a valuable board member, helping to develop a variety of programs including the push for wellness programs to lower benefit costs.

After reviewing the issue, the governor and his staff agreed.

In addition, the governor named former deputy attorney general George Campbell to replace Swirczek. He represented the public benefits board before retiring and was recommended to the governor's office by the Retired Public Employees of Nevada.

And he named Leo Drozdoff, administrator of the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection. Drozdoff will fill the position assigned to an active state employee.

He replaces Washoe District Judge Janet Berry who was appointed and served only at the July meeting before a review of the statutes forced her resignation. Under Nevada law, no elected official can sit on the board.

Public Employee Benefits Program provides benefits to an estimated 42,000 active and retired state government and local employees.

- Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.

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