Published Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011 | 1:34 p.m.
Updated Friday, Dec. 9, 2011 | 11:23 a.m.
County commissioners who are public employees can return to their public jobs immediately after serving in an elected position, according to a new ethics amendment approved today.
Clark County commissioners approved the amendment without argument, in contrast to last month's meeting, when Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, a public school teacher on leave, called out Commissioner Tom Collins for targeting her with the proposal.
Collins proposed amending the ethics policy to prevent elected officials who are public employees from working during a one-year cooling off period after they leave the commission. At that meeting, Giunchigliani openly questioned Collins amendment, implying he was going after her because she had proposed a ban on lobbying by commissioners — an ethics amendment that would affect Collins’ private business.
While already restricting commissioners from being paid consultants for a business that does work for Clark County, the amendment extends the law's prohibition to a commissioner’s spouse and members of the commissioner’s household.
The amendment also prohibits commissioners from working as paid consultants or lobbyists on any issue coming before a public body in Clark County. That amendment was scaled back from Giunchigliani’s earlier version, which would have prohibited lobbying any governmental body in Nevada.
Collins was briefly hired this year as a consultant by Veolia Transportation Services Inc., which had been competing against another company, First Transit, for a $400 million Regional Transportation Commission bus contract. First Transit’s bid was $50 million less than Veolia’s but the commission’s board split on which bus operator to hire. Collins said Veolia, which hired him through his business, Collins Consulting, wanted him to find out why RTC board members from rural communities had all voted for First Transit. But he never did the job and was never paid, he also said.
First Transit and the RTC settled their dispute. As part of the settlement, First Transit agreed to dismiss its lawsuit. The RTC plans on putting the contract out to bid and is working on a new request for proposals.
CORRECTION: The story incorrectly reported that First Transit and Veolia were working out an agreement. Rather, First Transit and the RTC settled their dispute. As part of the settlement, First Transit agreed to dismiss its lawsuit. The RTC plans on putting the contract out to bid and is working on a new request for proposals. | (December 9, 2011)