Board of Examiners move to eliminate state worker furlough exemptions
The Board of Examiners made it clear Tuesday that when the next fiscal year begins, no state employees will be exempt from the unpaid day-a-month furloughs.
The board stopped short of eliminating exceptions until an April 26 meeting so Director of Administration Andrew Clinger can clear up questions on how to prevent the loss of federal money when exemptions are eliminated. With the exception of the prison system, all those exempted are paid with federal money.
Many state workers have objected to the exceptions, saying it’s not fair they are furloughed because they are paid with general fund money while those paid with federal cash aren’t.
The problem, according to Clinger, is that furloughing federally paid employees doesn’t save the state money. It just loses the federal funding. He said his preference is that those agencies – Employment Security, the Military Department and Nevada Division of Forestry – use the savings from furloughs to hire more people rather than turn the funds back to the federal government. But he said he isn’t sure that’s allowed – particularly in unemployment and the Social Security disability adjudication programs.
Employment Security Administrator Cindy Jones said she would have to work with federal officials to make sure they can do that but said the government has been working with numerous other states facing the same problems as Nevada.
Disability adjudication, she said, will be the tough one because the federal government specifies staffing, performance requirements and even overtime levels in that program.
Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto asked that the vote be deferred while Clinger and the three agencies get those answers.
Eliminating the exceptions will only affect 25 firefighters in the forestry division and 23 security people and airport firemen in the Military Department. In employment security, however, 693 workers will have to join their colleagues in taking an unpaid day off each month.
The only other place in state government with exceptions to the furlough requirement is the Department of Corrections, where hundreds of officers are exempt. Clinger said no vote is needed on that issue since those exceptions expire automatically June 30.
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