CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Nevada's budget woes have resulted in less security for the state's first lady, Dawn Gibbons, currently going through divorce proceedings initiated by Gov. Jim Gibbons.
Gibbons press secretary Ben Kieckhefer said Monday that Dawn Gibbons is still being provided security for official events that she attends "in her capacity as first lady."
"But for other things, like going to the gym or to her mother's house, she doesn't need security protection for that," Kieckhefer said. "It's not necessary to spend taxpayer dollars to have security sitting around waiting for her."
Kieckhefer said the cutback was proposed "at the senior staff level" in the governor's office and not by Gibbons, who later signed off on the plan that took effect last week.
He also noted that Gibbons often drives himself to nonofficial events, adding it was the staff's opinion "the first lady should do the same."
Because of budget problems, the dignitary protection detail that's used for security for the governor, the first lady and for any visiting governors or other dignitaries has been reduced from five to four state Highway Patrol troopers, Kieckhefer added.
Gibbons and state lawmakers already have approved a long list of budget cuts in efforts to cope with a projected revenue shortfall of nearly $1.2 billion by the end of this fiscal year.
The governor is considering major budget reductions in the next two-year budget cycle, which starts in July 2009, because of fears of another huge revenue shortfall in that period.
Dawn Gibbons, 54, is staying in a guest house on the grounds of the governor's mansion in Carson City. Gibbons, 63, has asked for a court order awarding him sole occupancy of the taxpayer-supported mansion and awarding his estranged wife occupancy of their Reno home.
Gibbons filed for divorce in May, citing incompatibility. Dawn Gibbons then moved for public proceedings, saying the governor was involved with another woman and relied on an unconstitutional law in getting a Carson City judge to seal the case. At this point, the case remains sealed. Gibbons has denied having any romantic involvement with other women.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)