Plan to close reviews of executive protested | NevadaAppeal.com

Plan to close reviews of executive protested

Legislation that would make confidential the annual evaluations of the head of the Public Employee Benefits Program ran into opposition from lawmakers as well as witnesses Friday.

Assembly Government Affairs Chairwoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-Las Vegas, said she shepherded the law opening up annual evaluations of public directors in 2005, “and every session they ask me to get rid of it.”

She told program Executive Officer Jim Wells changing that rule is not something she will support.

Kirkpatrick was backed by several other committee members including Pete Livermore, R-Carson City, who said simply he believes “open meeting laws are important to this state.”

Barry Smith of the Nevada Press Association said the issue goes beyond just the evaluation of the director.

“It’s also a way for the public to evaluate the way the board is doing their job,” he said. He said he objects to continual attempts to put exceptions into the open meeting law.

Marty Bibb of the Retired Public Employees of Nevada told the committee he too believes the selection and evaluation of the executive officer should be done in an open forum.

For his part, Wells pointed out the bill draft was prepared before he was chosen to head thee program last year and that his selection was done in an open forum.

Kirkpatrick asked him his reaction if the committee takes that provision out of the bill. He said he needs the other provisions in the measure even if this piece is removed.

The committee took no action on the measure.