Friday, Feb. 4, 2011 | 12:02 p.m.
CARSON CITY – Gov. Brian Sandoval will not back a bill to eliminate collective bargaining in local government as proposed by his predecessor Jim Gibbons.
Dale Erquiaga, senior advisor to Sandoval, told a news conference that the governor will only support three of the more than eight bills requested by Gibbons.
On collective bargaining, Erquiaga said the governor will work with legislative leaders, local government officials and union members in drafting a plan.
In his “State of the State” Sandoval said “Collective bargaining must be reformed if we are to change the course on which we find ourselves.” He said he would work with government and union officials “to ensure employee compensation does not hamper government performance.”
The governor is backing the plan of Gibbons to allow state agencies to have flexible work schedules. The law now requires the opening of offices from 8 a.m. to 12 and then from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Sandoval is also backing a bill to expand how loans can be made to energy efficient projects and another measure on net metering.
The governor will not support a Gibbons’ bill to change the ways school support is distributed or to reduce the time construction defect suits must be filed.
Eriquaga said the governor’s bill on reform in education and the budget bills will be ready in mid-February for introduction in the Legislature that opens Monday.
On the issue of wildlife, Erquiaga said the number one issue in calls and e-mails since the election of Sandoval has been the hunting of bears and the opposition to it. The state Wildlife Commission is meeting in Las Vegas today to consider the issue.
Sandoval has called for a 5 percent pay cut in all state workers in the coming biennium. Erquiaga said the Nevada Supreme Court and the Legislature are free not to follow that recommendation as long as they achieve the same amount of savings.
The Supreme Court did not order its employees to take a one-day unpaid furlough a month after the 2009 Legislature imposed the penalty on all state workers. The furlough was equivalent to a 4.6 percent pay reduction.
The court said it returned unspent more than enough money to make up the savings from the furlough bill. And the 5 percent cut in salaries, proposed by Sandoval, is not in the court’s budget for the coming two years.
“Equity is important,” Eriquaga told reporters.
On complaints that tuitions would have to be raised 73 percent to make up the $163 million shortfall in state funding in the universities and community colleges, Erquiaga said it had to be shared between higher tuition and sacrifices.
In 2009, the pay of the tenured professors was not docked 4.6 percent as was imposed on state workers.