State of Nevada Employee Association hosts barbecue celebration | NevadaAppeal.com

State of Nevada Employee Association hosts barbecue celebration

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal State employees Layne Wilhelm, left, and Susan Mears serve up some lunch at a State of Nevada Employees Association hosted barbecue at the Kinkead Building on Thursday. State officials are applauding a decision from the Interim Finance Committee to move workers out of the building by next spring.
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State workers on Thursday celebrated the decision to move them out of the Kinkead Building and shut it down with lunch from the State of Nevada Employee Association.

Workers have complained for years about sagging floors, falling pieces of ceiling, fire and other safety violations. Nevada’s Board of Examiners and legislative Interim Finance Committee this week approved a budget to move them to new office space until the 2007 Legislature can fund construction of a new building.

“This is really a victory for the people who work in Kinkead,” said Assemblywoman Bonnie Parnell, D-Carson City, at luncheon barbecue outside the building.

“I’m just very happy for the workers inside,” said Scott MacKenzie of the State of Nevada Employees Union.

Human Resources Director Mike Willden, who has some 350 of his staff in the building, told about 50 attending the luncheon the move to the former Harley-Davidson Financial Services buildings on Technology Way near the Eagle Valley golf courses should be temporary.

“This is a short-term and interim step and hopefully we can convince the Legislature we need to be back on campus,” he said.

He supports the plan Gov. Kenny Guinn originally presented to lawmakers to build a building similar to the new Richard Bryan building on South Stewart Street for human resources. That funding was killed when lawmakers voted to put it into the new math and science building at the University of Nevada, Reno.

“The Legislature should be ashamed we allowed this to occur,” said Parnell, who represents most of Carson City.

MacKenzie said he hopes the conditions in the Kinkead Building have made lawmakers more aware of their responsibility to state workers.

“There are a lot of health problems in state office buildings,” he said. “I know the state can’t deal with it all at one time but they’re going to have to over time.”

“Finally maybe the Legislature recognizes, yes, it’s our responsibility for the safety and health and general work conditions of our employees,” said Parnell.

Willden told the crowd he and others in the administration would work to get them moved out of Kinkead as soon as possible, but cautioned it will take until April to prepare the new quarters.

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