Nevada Ethics Panel OKs Double-Dip Deal

Governor Kenny Guinn
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A Nevada Ethics Commission panel has dismissed a complaint against Gov. Kenny Guinn and former state Public Safety Director Richard Kirkland, accused of improper conduct in what critics described as Kirkland's double-dipping on the state payroll.

The commission panel of Liz Hatcher of Las Vegas and Jim Kosinski of Reno found Thursday there was no "just and sufficient cause" for the full commission to hold a hearing on the allegations filed by former Carson City Sheriff Paul McGrath.

The panel adopted a recommendation from the commission's executive director, Stacy Jennings, who found no legal problems with letting some executives in the Public Safety Department draw both state retirement and state salary.

The 2001 Legislature authorized state retirees who were deemed to be in critical government positions to draw both retirement and pay. The goal was to draw retired teachers back into the classroom in hard-to-find categories such as math, science and special education.

The state Board of Examiners, headed by Guinn, determined that Kirkland, as public safety director, was in a critical position and should be allowed to receive both his annual retirement of an estimated $68,000 and his $102,000-a-year salary.

It also decided Kirkland's assistant, David Kieckbusch, and some others in the department were in critical and hard-to-fill positions and should be permitted to get both pension and salary.

The 2003 Legislature considered changing the law, but the bill died and the law remains in effect.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)