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TransparentNevada Shines Light on Metro Police Salaries

TransparentNevada.com, an arm of the Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI) think-tank, released the 2012 salaries for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department today. TransparentNevada documents information about all levels of government in the Silver State, including contracts, financial documents and public employee salaries. The information is updated each year.

Metro, which has jurisdiction over all of Clark County, has some of the highest-paid employees in the County, according to a press release from NPRI.

“The employees of Las Vegas Metro continue to be some of the highest compensated employees — public or private — in the Las Vegas Valley,” said Andy Matthews, president of NPRI. “In 2012, 149 employees took home more than $200,000 in total compensation, with one captain raking in over $585,000 in total earnings.

“One lieutenant cashed in for over $354,000 and an assistant sheriff received more than $294,000.”

Matthews stated that, in 2012, 348 employees received over $175,000 in total compensation, and 888 employees took home over $150,000.

“These inflated salaries are the result of collective bargaining laws that favor politically powerful labor unions over the needs of taxpayers,” he said. “As we’ve seen before and are seeing again, right now, once it becomes apparent that such salaries are unsustainable, government unions start demanding that Nevada’s struggling families and businesses fork over even more.”

During the two-decade economic boom of the 1990’s and 2000’s, public employee union negotiations largely sailed under the radar. The public generally paid little attention to the contents of contracts and, when coupled with the booming economy and rising tax revenues, public employee unions were able to negotiate favorable agreements. Since the recession began and depleted both government coffers and taxpayer wallets much more attention is being paid to wages and salaries of government employees.

The Nevada Legislature is currently considering a proposal to implement a quarter-cent increase in the sales tax in Clark County to provide Metro with funds to hire more officers. Leadership at Metro, however, is insisting on having the authority to spend the tax increase funds on other costs and expenses, such as raising salaries of existing officers.

Matthews noted that the release of the salary data comes as Las Vegas Metro brass wants the Nevada Legislature to authorize a quarter-cent increase in the sales tax and give the department “flexibility” in spending that money. Originally in 2004, tax increase proponents had pledged that the sales tax increase would only be used to hire new officers.

“Las Vegas Metro’s budget problem flows directly out of its inflated salaries,” said NPRI’s president.

In NPRI’s press release Matthews also criticizes Metro’s policy of using taxpayer funds to pay certain officers for performing work for their union. This practice is common among public sector unions in Clark County and taxpayers pay public employee union members millions of dollars each year to work for their unions rather than for the taxpayers.

Michael Chamberlain

Michael Chamberlain is the Editor of Watchdog Wire - Nevada. Please contact him at Nevada@watchdogwire.com for story ideas or to get involved in citizen journalism in Nevada. Follow Michael on Twitter: @michaelpchamber

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Categories: Budget and Finance, Labor / Unions, Must Read, News, Waste, Fraud and Abuse
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