Gibbons trying to recover money from Loux |

Gibbons trying to recover money from Loux

Associated Press

Gov. Jim Gibbons has moved to recover more than $64,000 paid to outgoing Nevada nuclear projects director Bob Loux, who resigned following disclosures he raised his own pay and that of his staff without authorization.

The governor sent a letter to state Controller Kim Wallin asking her to start to recoup the money from Loux, who headed the state Nuclear Projects Agency since it was created in the 1980s to fight federal efforts to open a nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain.

Reached for comment, Loux said, “There’s an issue whether any is owed or not.”

A two-member panel of the state Ethics Commission ruled Thursday that there’s enough evidence to show that Loux violated seven ethical standards in giving himself and his staff pay raises. The panel sent the case to the full commission for a hearing on the complaint filed against Loux by Assembly Minority Leader Heidi Gansert, R-Reno.

At the hearing, tentatively set for Jan. 8, the full commission will decide whether to find him guilty of three counts of raising his own pay without authorization, three counts of giving his employees unapproved salary increases and one count of using an employee to pull it off.

An audit revealed that Loux used salary savings to raise his and his staff’s pay above the authorized level.

According to budgeted figures, Loux had an authorized salary last fiscal year of $110,851 but earned $145,718. The state budget office figures Loux was paid 31 percent higher than authorized. This fiscal year he was earning $151,542 against an authorized salary of $115,285.

The staff of the nuclear commission made 19 percent more than approved last fiscal year. For fiscal years 2006-2008, an estimated $200,000 was overpaid to the six employees in the agency.

Loux has agreed to stay on until a replacement is selected. As of Friday, 11 applications have been submitted by candidates to replace Loux.