Nevada forestry division bought vehicles without approval
Gov. Steve Sisolak on Tuesday chastised state forestry officials for buying 10 crew carrier vehicles without first getting Board of Examiners approval to spend the money.
The 10 large vehicles needed to transport fire crews cost a total of $2.3 million.
“Apparently this purchase was made prior to getting authorizations,” Sisolak told State Forester Casey KC.
“Yes, governor, that is correct,” she told him. “It looked to be a series of issues on our side and I’m very sorry this happened.”
She said the funding was included in Forestry’s legislatively approved budget but the formal process of getting approval to spend it, “fell through the cracks.”
“It didn’t fall through one crack, it fell though 100 cracks,” he said.
Sisolak said he was reluctant to approve the purchase because of the violation.
“Because I understand the urgency of the situation and the severity of the situation, we need these 10 vehicles because of the approach of the fire season,” he said.
But Sisolak told her not to let something like that happen again or there would be “changes in the division.”
Board members Attorney General Aaron Ford and Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske also voted to approve the purchase as necessary.
In addition, the board voted, once again, to extend the “critical labor” designation that allows the Capitol Police to hire retired law enforcement personnel but still let them collect their Public Employee Retirement System monthly checks. The Capitol Police division is the only remaining state agency still using the “critical labor” designation to fill positions. The vote would apply to three officers and one sergeant in the division and last another 18 months.
Department of Public Safety Director George Togliatti said the attrition rate within the Capitol Police is severe in part because those officers are paid at a lower rate than other DPS officers who automatically rise to DPS Officer 2 after their first year.
“This makes it harder still to fill lower paid DPS Officer 1 positions that must still meet the same standards as all the rest of the DPS officers,” he said.
The Capitol Police have just 21 sworn positions including two sergeants and the agency’s chief.
The retiree serving as sergeant in Carson City is currently the acting chief while the department looks to hire a new chief.