Gibbons moves to trim boards, commissions |

Gibbons moves to trim boards, commissions

Gov. Jim Gibbons is moving ahead with a review of state boards and commissions with the goal of reducing the list and improving oversight.

His staff has scheduled a meeting with the heads and executive directors of more than 100 occupational licensing boards July 21 to begin the process.

“The governor is looking to streamline them,” said spokesman Dan Burns.

He said the process could eliminate some boards and commissions and combine others to reduce the number.

“For example, do you need a barber’s board and a cosmetology board or could you combine them,” he said. “Or maybe, the county health inspection program could take over because we don’t test them for their ability to cut hair.”

“It’s mostly the occupational licensing boards we’re talking about,” said Director of Administration Andrew Clinger.

He said members of those boards are paid $80 for each day they meet as a board. Directors and other staff are paid different amounts. The money comes from the licensing and regulatory fees each board charges the professions they regulate, not from the state General Fund.

One of the problems, according to Clinger, is that those board budgets currently don’t go through his office. All the state gets is a financial statement from each board at the end of the fiscal year.

He said a primary goal of the project is to improve oversight of those boards and commissions, putting them under one administrator in the Department of Business and Industry.

As an example of the need for more oversight, Clinger cited the Pharmacy Board’s vote last month to give its employees cost of living raises when the rest of the state is taking pay cuts in the form of furloughs.

To prepare for the July 21 meeting, Clinger has asked board officials to fill out a questionnaire spelling out its purpose, whether it is mandated by the constitution, state or federal law and what activity or service the board provides to those it regulates.

The questionnaire also asks what impact eliminating the board would have.

“Make no mistake, the governor believes many of these boards are necessary to protect the public,” Burns said.

Burns said the state might be able to eliminate a state board if it duplicates what a federal agency or county agency is already doing.

“If they (the professionals involved) are licensed by the county or they’re licensed by the federal government, why be redundant,” he said.

Burns said the review is something that should be done but that it won’t generate a large financial savings to the state.

“It isn’t a huge money effort,” he said.

The most prominent statutory and constitutional boards and commissions are not part of the project, including the Gaming Control Board, Tax Commission, Mineral Commission, employee benefits, retirement system and Public Utilities Commission.

Altogether, the governor makes 1,500 appointments to about 200 boards, commissions and task forces.