State honors three workers for saving money |

State honors three workers for saving money

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Robert Drake, a plumber for the Nevada Department of Corrections, created an underground piping system at the Nevada State Prison that saved the state $17 million.

When Bob Drake suggested a way to replace the leaky 60-year-old water main feeding a cell block in the oldest part of Nevada State Prison, he had no idea how much money he was saving the state.

Prison officials say his idea to replace the corroded four-inch main meant they didn’t have to shut that unit down and move 250 inmates to new housing while major construction was done.

The estimated savings to the state: $17 million.

A contractor along with Drake, carpenter Rocky Koch and an inmate crew ended up pulling a new pipe in beside the old pipe and rerouting the water through it.

Drake, a plumber with the Department of Corrections for three years, said the new line feeds the infirmary, laundry and the guard post. He said inmates lost water supply and toilets in each cell but that’s OK since the remodel essentially converted the wing into a dormitory with inmates using centralized bathroom facilities.

Keith Munro, chief of staff for Gov. Kenny Guinn, said the administration wishes it could recognize more of these kinds of efforts by state workers because Drake and two others honored at a dinner Friday are far from alone.

“It’s the workers in state government that make the difference,” he said.

The state honored Drake along with two other state workers as recipients of the Governor’s Award for Achievement of Excellence in State Service. Gov. Guinn praised their contributions “in making state government more accountable and effective in serving the citizens of Nevada.”

Drake received a bonus check for $500.

Mark Theriault was awarded $400 for developing a database that will save the state more than $40,000 a year in labor and cost collection for the Department of Employment Training and Rehabilitation.

Theriault said he “was able to reduce a lot of redundancy” in processing forms dealing with unemployment insurance claimants.

“It frees us up to do other things better,” he said.

Michon Dimit, also at DETR, was awarded $200 for streamlining the notification process for unemployment eligibility claims. Not only did her suggestions cut the cost of documents, copying and staff workload, it shortened the forms used to just one page.

But she said she was surprised to learn the changes would save the state more than $10,000 a year.

They both said they don’t think they are unique in providing suggestions that cut red tape, save money and make it easier for people to do business with and get services from the state.

Theriault, a four-year state employee, said suggestions come from numerous employees and are important to give taxpayers the most for their money.

“Public or private, everybody’s doing more with less these days,” he said.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.