Money for state pay increases approved | NevadaAppeal.com
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Money for state pay increases approved

Nevada’s Board of Examiners approved the first in a series of appropriations Tuesday to pay for state worker salary increases implemented in July.

Director of Administration Andrew Clinger said there will be similar requests on the next three or four board agendas as different agencies calculate exactly how much they need to cover the 6 percent increases approved for all state workers by the governor and 2005 Legislature.

The funding approved Tuesday totals just under $1.6 million for 21 agencies – mostly in Health and Human Services.

That is just part of the $18 million approved to cover the general fund and highway fund cost of the 2 percent cost of living adjustments for fiscal 2006.

There is another $37.3 million in the budget to cover an additional 4 percent cost-of-living adjustment for state workers in fiscal 2007.

Clinger said the money is put in a special account for agencies to tap after they have used up salary savings and other available funding within their existing budgets. With three-quarters of fiscal 2006 gone, those agencies are now calculating how much they actually need to cover the cost of raises.

“As it comes down to the end of the year, they project out to see how much they need,” he said.

He said the process will be repeated halfway through fiscal 2007 to cover the cost of the 4 percent raises approved by the governor and lawmakers.

The board also approved $308,313 to cover the cost of the 10th seniority grade step created by the 2005 Legislature. Until this fiscal year, classified workers “topped out” after nine years on the job.

As with the pay raises, Clinger said the rest of Nevada’s more than 200 state agencies will follow suit with applications for 10th-step funding over the next three or four months.

This biennium, for the first time, the university system will join the list of agencies applying for money to cover pay raises. Traditionally, the universities doled out the money necessary to cover professors’ cost-of-living adjustments.

However, the 2005 Legislature included language requiring the system to come to the board of examiners as well so they could get a better handle on the cost and, not incidentally, keep any unneeded funding since the university system doesn’t revert excess state money to the general fund.

According to AB577, which appropriated the amounts necessary for all pay raises, the total needed for university professional raises is substantial – a total of $23.1 million over the biennium compared to $42.1 million for the entire classified state workforce.

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