10 lawmakers attend Gov. Gibbons’ open door budget meeting | NevadaAppeal.com

10 lawmakers attend Gov. Gibbons’ open door budget meeting

Ten lawmakers showed up for Gov. Jim Gibbons’ first open door meeting on the state’s budget crisis.

Spokesman Dan Burns said the tone of the meeting was “very courteous and respectful” with no partisan grandstanding on either side. The make-up was split evenly between Democrats and Republicans.

Burns said there was considerable discussion of state worker furloughs versus pay cuts. He said some of the discussion centered on “what’s fair and it’s not fair to have a certain segment that doesn’t have to take furloughs or pay cuts.”

That reference is to correctional officers who have been exempted from furloughs while other state employees are off work one day each month without pay.

Also discussed, he said, was the prospect that the opening of City Center in Las Vegas will help jump start economic recovery in the south.

Chief of Staff Robin Reedy described the meeting as “kind of brainstorming.”

“It really is just get us ideas, give us ideas,” she said.

“Everyone had a chance to speak and everyone got the governor’s opinion on their ideas,” Burns said. “Most heartening to the governor was that every person wanted to meet again.”

A second meeting to discuss the budget and other state issues was set for Jan. 5. Gibbons has said he intends to hold the meetings about every two weeks through February so that he and lawmakers can discuss how to deal with the state’s revenue shortfall, which was at $67 million after just the first quarter of this fiscal year.

The meeting was scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon but was cut short when the governor had to leave for an engagement in Reno at 11 a.m.

Republicans who turned out for the meeting were Assembly members Tom Grady of Yerington, James Settelmeyer of Gardnerville, Pete Goicoechea of Eureka, Lynn Stewart of Las Vegas and Don Gustavson of Sparks. Democrats who attended either in person or by video-conference were Assembly members Kelvin Atkinson, John Oceguera and Marilyn Kirkpatrick and Senators Joyce Woodhouse and Bob Coffin, all of Las Vegas.

They met with Gibbons, Reedy and Deputy Chief of Staff Lynn Hettrick.