PERS loses another round at Nevada Supreme Court
The Public Employees Retirement System petition for a rehearing of the decision ordering the system to match the names of retirees with how much they receive each month has been rejected by the Nevada Supreme Court.
Four justices, a majority of the high court, rejected the petition in just 20 days. That leaves the case in Carson District Judge James Wilson’s hands to determine how PERS can comply with the Oct. 6 order.
The battle has been going on for five years since the court ordered PERS to provide the public with the monthly report it provides actuaries that includes the names and amount of retirement checks retirees receive. While providing the report for most of the past five years, PERS has repeatedly tried to find a way to deny public access to the information.
Its most recent tactic was to simply change that actuarial report, removing the retiree names. They argued therefore the report containing both names and payment amounts no longer exists. And the law doesn’t require it to create a report to fill a public request.
Wilson disagreed and ordered PERS to provide the information to the Nevada Policy Research Institute which had been posting the data on its Transparent Nevada website. The high court agreed with Wilson.
The PERS board refused to give up, petitioning for a rehearing on the same grounds it raised before: the ruling mandates creation of a report document, opening the door to a wave of requests demanding creation of reports by public entities across the state to meet public demands.
But Justices Michael Douglas, Michael Cherry, Mark Gibbons and Kris Pickering rejected the petition this week.
Justices Lidia Stiglich and Jim Hardesty dissented, saying they would grant a rehearing.
The seventh member of the high court, Ron Parraguirre, recused himself from the case.
In the wake of this ruling, the only remaining option PERS would be to ask the Legislature to change the law to make the data confidential.