State furloughs: Board votes to end remaining exemptions |

State furloughs: Board votes to end remaining exemptions

The Board of Examiners voted Tuesday to end all remaining furlough exemptions granted state workers starting June 30.

Gov. Jim Gibbons said even though the exempted positions were funded by federal money, it came down to a question of fairness with the thousands of state workers who are taking an unpaid furlough day each month. He said it became a morale issue in a number of departments.

Adjutant Gen. Bill Burks said the cut will force furloughs of military firefighters stationed at Reno-Tahoe International Airport, which he said will increase the amount of risk. He said it “makes no sense” since the positions are 100 percent federally funded, and, under federal rules, any savings can’t be used to hire additional firemen.

But Burk said they would find a way to make the furloughs work.

The Forestry Division also is losing exemptions for its fire crews. Those two departments will have to furlough about 25 employees each.

The majority of those with exemptions were in the Employment Security Division, which will have to impose furloughs on 693 workers. Division Administrator Cindy Jones said federal rules will allow her to use any federal savings to hire more people or make other improvements in the unemployment services operation.

The only other place in state government with exceptions to the furlough requirement is the Department of Corrections where hundreds of officers are exempt. Director of Administration Andrew Clinger said no vote is needed on that issue since those exceptions expire automatically June 30. Those positions are funded by the state.

The board also approved issuance of $3 million in bonds for the Cultural Resource program. That amount of bonds are issued each year to pay for restoration and rehabilitation of historic buildings around the state, converting them into cultural centers. The projects are awarded each year after hearings by the Cultural Affairs Commission.

The board voted to write off $369,193 in bad debts for the Real Estate Division. A spokesman said the debts result from disciplinary fines assessed by the division, which have proven to be uncollectable. Those debts have been turned over to the Controller’s Office, which Clinger said will make a final attempt to collect them.