Las Vegas Sun

June 23, 2017

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Judge orders agency to release Nevada pension data

CARSON CITY — A district judge has ordered the state Public Employees' Retirement System to release the names and other personal data of the more than 57,000 recipients of pension benefits.

District Judge James Wilson ruled Tuesday that the information is not confidential and approved the petition of the conservative Nevada Policy Research Institute that sought it.

This is the second court ruling against the retirement system over disclosure of records. The Nevada Supreme Court in 2013 granted the request of Reno newspapers to reveal personal information about those enrolled in the system.

After the Supreme Court decision, the research institute said it requested the names of those retired, the years of service, the amount of benefits, the years of employment and the most recent employer.

Judge Wilson rejected the argument that making these names public would subject the pensioners to cybercrime. He said this stance was “hypothetical and speculative.”

There was no evidence, said the judge, that “the requested information would actually cause harm or even increase the risk of harm to retired employees.”

The judge said the research institute was entitled costs and attorney fees.

The retirement system covers all local and state employees. In 2014, 57,124 individuals received $1.9 billion in retirement benefits.

NPRI initially requested data about pension payouts to add to a website it maintains called Transparent Nevada. The organization received a report that listed pension payouts not by retiree name but by Social Security number, which by law must be redacted.

The research institute said the information is needed to determine the value of the system and to detect fraud.

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