Public employee compensation debated |

Public employee compensation debated

AP) ” Members of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and police and firefighter unions bickered during a Senate hearing Wednesday over a survey that states public-sector employees make more than their private-sector counterparts.

The survey, compiled by chamber consultant Jeremy Aguero, showed that public employees in Nevada on average earn 28 percent more and generally have better health insurance and retirement packages than people in similar jobs in private companies.

Steve Hill of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce told the Government Affairs Committee that public employee compensation is a sensitive issue and that the chamber opposes reductions in teacher and state employee pay. Six percent pay cuts for the teachers and state workers have been proposed by Gov. Jim Gibbons.

The idea, Hill said, is to put the state “on a sustainable path and realize that many of our reforms are not going to have substantial impact on the budget deficit we have today, but they will six years from now, 15 years from, 30 years from now.”

Hill added the step is needed “so the next generation that is here will not have to pay for the lack of decisions that we make now.”

Rusty McAllister, president of the Professional Firefighers of Nevada, said he found the discussion about public employee pay and benefits ironic.

“We earn it the day we pull your baby out of the swimming pool or the day that we pull your mom out of a car that’s been crashed and we have to use the jaws (of life) to get her out,” McAllister said.

“I would submit you would give me everything you have if you thought that I could get there and be prepared and trained and capable of doing something to change that situation,” McAllister added.