Lawmaker throws tantrum over construction costs | NevadaAppeal.com
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Lawmaker throws tantrum over construction costs

Assemblywoman Chris Giunchigliani, D-Las Vegas, threw what other members of Ways and Means described as a temper tantrum Monday over a request to increase the budget for the new Conservation and Natural Resources Building in Carson City.

She objected to a portion of AB106 that seeks to add $462,000 to the project budget for a compact, high-density shelving and filing system. The building is being constructed under a lease-purchase agreement and Public Works cut that system from the plan when rising construction costs pushed the building beyond its budget.

“I won’t support this,” she said. “If Public Works screwed it up, take it out of their budget.”

Conservation and Natural Resources Director Alan Biaggi said the filing systems are vital for historic documents, maps and water title records the agency must keep on file. He said to his knowledge, the agency wasn’t consulted on the decision to take out the filing system in the first place.

Giunchigliani moved to take the $462,000 out of the Public Works budget.

Chairman Morse Arberry, D-Las Vegas, agreed the committee had been “painted into a corner” by Public Works but said that doesn’t change the fact the filing system is needed, and taking it out of the Public Works budget wasn’t appropriate.

“We can’t do that,” he said.

“Yes, we can,” Giunchigliani said.

“No, we’re not going to do that,” said Arberry, taking a motion from Assemblyman John Marvel, R-Battle Mountain, to pass the bill out of committee. “It’s not fair to make the agency suffer.”

“I’ll kill the bill,” she said, arguing with Arberry. “The agency will get the money, Mr. Chairman. The discussion was where the money will come from.”

But a majority of the committee voted to support the legislation.

After the committee adjourned, several members expressed dismay at the exchange, describing her conduct as “childish” and “a temper tantrum.” One member pointed out it wasn’t the fault of Public Works that construction costs have risen dramatically in the past year and that beating up on an agency for something not within its control is unfair.

The Conservation and Natural Resources office is under construction on South Stewart Street just north of the Department of Transportation building.

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