Vote button trans.png
April's Project of the Month
It's spring time. It's primary election season!
Click here to find all the information you'll need to cast your ballot.




Evaluation of Nevada state website

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search

NV.gov is the website for the state of Nevada.

Website evaluation

Grade2.pngB-
Budget P
Partial.png
Usability
{{{1}}}
Elected Officials
{{{1}}}
Administrative Officials
{{{1}}}
Ethics
{{{1}}}
Audits
{{{1}}}
Contracts
{{{1}}}
Lobbying P
Partial.png
Public records N
600px-Red x.png
Taxes
{{{1}}}
State agency websitesGuide.png
Transparency grading process


This website was reviewed on January 21, 2012.

The good

  • The site has a search function and is fairly easy to navigate.
  • A state phone directory is posted.[1]
  • The state has a transparency site.[2]
  • Legislators are listed with contact information.[3]
  • Executive officials are listed, with contact information available on their pages.[4]
  • The current budget is posted.[5]
  • Audits are posted.[6]
  • State contracts are posted,[7] as are bid opportunities.[8]
  • Ethics information is posted.[9]
  • Tax information is available.[10]
  • Lobbyist lists and information are posted.[11]

The bad

  • Previous years' budgets are not published.
  • No information is available on the state's Taxpayer-funded lobbying.
  • While some departments have public records request forms,[12] there is no comprehensive information or contacts available.

U.S. PIRG rating

The U.S. PIRG rated the state website a "C" on providing online access to government spending data, with a score of 70 out of 100.[13]

The scorecard that U.S. PIRG uses has 13 items and focuses on a separate state website that is searchable at the checkbook level. Sunshine Review, on the other hand, focuses on the availability of separate spending-related items; they do not need to be in a central database.

Item Possible points Notes
Checkbook-level website 30 Detailed expenditure information, including individual payments made to vendors.
Search by vendor 8 Ability to search checkbook-level expenditures by contractor or vendor name.
Search by keyword of activity 8 Ability to search checkbook-level expenditures by type of service or item purchased, category, or government fund.
Search by agency or departments 8 Ability to search checkbook-level expenditures by branch of government.
Contract or summary information 10 A copy of the contract or detailed summary information is included for the expenditures.
Historical expenditures 5 Checkbook-level expenditure data from previous fiscal years.
Grants and economic development incentives information 10 Awardee-specific grants and/or economic development incentives are included in the checkbook tool or elsewhere with specific award amounts.
Downloadable 3 Information can be downloaded for data analysis.
Tax expenditure reports 10 The state's tax expenditure report is linked on the website.
Off-budget agencies 2 Expenditures from quasi-public agencies are included on the website.
City and county budgets 2 Financial information for some local governments is accessible.
ARRA Funding 2 A link is provided to the state's website that tracks funding related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Feedback 2 Website users are capable and encouraged to give feedback about the site.

There are several similarities between the checklists. For both checklists, the searchability of information factors in to how usability is rated. Both checklists have an item relating to contracts, tax information, and the budget. The U.S. PIRG requires information for quasi public entities; Sunshine Review requires information on lobbying, which includes quasi public entities' lobbying activity.

Unlike the Sunshine Review checklist with each check worth one point, different items on the U.S. PIRG checklist merit more or fewer points, depending on the item.

State Integrity Investigation

The 2012 State Integrity Investigation graded state ethics laws according to an "Integrity Index." The index was created by researching 330 "Integrity Indicators" across 14 categories of state government. The report assigned grades based on what laws are on the books, and whether or not they were effectively enforced. The report was a project of The Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity, and Public Radio International.[14]

Nevada received an overall grade of D-, or 60%. It ranked 42 out of the 50 states.[15]

Category Grade
Public Access to Information D
Political Financing D-
Executive Accountability C-
Legislative Accountability D
Judicial Accountability D+
State Budget Processes D-
State Civil Service Management D-
Procurement B-
Internal Auditing F
Lobbying Disclosure F
State Pension Fund Management F
Ethics Enforcement Agencies F
State Insurance Commissions F
Redistricting D

Cost of Open Nevada

As of this article's update, Nevada's transparency website, Open Nevada, has cost $169,000 to develop. This includes amounts spent in fiscal year 2008, 2009, and 2010 up until October 30th.[16]

Lobbying

Nevada spent $220,000 on lobbying the federal government the first two quarters of 2010.[17]

Transparency Legislation

2011

Transparent Nevada, created by the Nevada Policy Research Institute, gave this summary of bills related to transparency in 2011:

  • AB 159: Introduced by Assemblyman Tick Segerblom (D), this bill would allow individuals to make oral public records request and require that pulblic entities must make copies for the public of the requested records. In some instances, government agencies have refused to make copies for the public, although that is allowed by state law.
  • SB 65: Introduced by the Committee on Government Affairs, this bill revises provisions regarding the publication of cities' financial information. If a financial statement is published in a newspaper, it would be a public record available by request.
  • AB 195: Introduced by the Judiciary Committee, this bill would allow courts to destroy records only if the record is first saved on microfilm or a computer file.
  • AB 239: Introduced by Assemblyman David Bobzien (D), this bill would require all public bodies to post meeting records on their websites.[18]

Resources

Resource Run by Includes
Transparent Nevada Nevada Policy Research Institute Public employee salaries, higher ed budgets, candidate score cards, contracts, and spending
Nevada Recovery State Tracks federal stimulus funds
Secretary of State State Lobbying and campaign finance
Nevada Open Government State Budget info
Follow the Money National Institute on Money in Politics Campaign contributions

Salaries

State and Local Employees

According to 2008 Census data, the state of Nevada and local governments in the state employed a total of 135,957 people.[19] Of those employees, 99,394 were full-time employees receiving a net pay of $486,419,550 per month and 36,563 were part-time employees paid $43,648,875 per month.[19] More than 52% of those employees, or 71,451 employees, were in education or higher education.[19]

State Employee Benefits

Insurance

Health Coverage for employees and their eligible dependents becomes effective on the first day of the month following or coincident with 90 consecutive days of employment. Employees are required to pay a premium for dependent coverage. The premium is typically deducted from the first paycheck of the month. The health coverage options available for employees and their dependents include the following plans:

  • A Self-funded Medical Plan
  • Health Maintenance Plan
  • Dental Plan

Life The basic plan is $20,000 of life insurance and $20,000 of AD&D coverage.[20]

Other insurance options available to employees include long term disability insurance[21], short term disability and long term care insurance.[22]

Holidays Nevada state employees receive 11 paid holidays per year.[23] Nevada state holidays are[24]:

  • New Year's Day
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • President’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Nevada Day
  • Veteran’s Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Family Day - The Day after Thanksgiving
  • Christmas Day

Annual Leave New employees who have worked the equivalent of six months are entitled to seven and a half days of annual (vacation) leave. Annual leave will continue to accrue at a rate of 10 hours per month for the first 10 years of service. Annual leave accrual rates are slightly greater for employees with more than 10 years of continuous service.[23]

Sick Leave State employees accrue 10 hours of sick leave per month of full-time service to protect against loss of pay in the event of illness or injury. Part-time employees accrue annual and sick leave hours on a prorated basis of the 10 hours per month credit that full-time employees earn.[23]

Other Benefits

Flexible Spending Accounts

Pensions

Nevada state employees and teachers participate in the Public Employees' Retirement System of Nevada.

State employees hired after January 1, 2010, will have their annual pension benefits calculated using a new formula. Instead of the old formula by which the state multiplied the number of years of service by 2.67 to derive the percentage of salary to be replaced by pension benefits, the state dropped the multiplier to 2.5.[25]

Elibility

Nevada’s employees are eligible for retirement benefits at age 62 with 10 years of service, instead of age 60.[25]

Calculation of Pension Benefit

State employees hired after January 1, 2010, will have their annual pension benefits calculated using a new formula.[25] The state multiplies the number of years of service by 2.5% to derive the percentage of final salary to be replaced by pension benefits. In the past, the state multiplied the number of years of service by 2.67%.[25]

Funding Levels

The state's pension liabilities can be calculated in a variety of ways, which yield different numbers. Below are the numbers as calculated by to the Pew Center on the States,[26] the American Enterprise Institute[27] and Professors Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Chicago and Joshua Rauh of Northwestern University, Kellogg Graduate School of Management.[28]

In Thousands
PEW (2008) AEI (2008) Kellogg (2009)
$7,281,752 $33,529,346 $17,500,000

Public Records

The Nevada Open Records Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels in Nevada.

The Nevada Open Meeting Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted.

To learn more about how to make a public records request in this state, please see: Nevada FOIA procedures.

External links

References

  1. NV.gov "Phone Directory," accessed January 21, 2012
  2. NV.gov "Open Government," accessed January 21, 2012
  3. NV.gov "Legislature," accessed January 21, 2012
  4. NV.gov "Executive Branch," accessed January 21, 2012
  5. NV.gov "Executive Budget," accessed January 21, 2012
  6. NV.gov "CAFR," accessed January 21, 2012
  7. NV.gov "Contracts," accessed January 21, 2012
  8. NV.gov "Bidding Opportunities," accessed January 21, 2012
  9. NV.gov "Ethics," accessed January 21, 2012
  10. NV.gov "Department of Taxation," accessed January 21, 2012
  11. NV.gov "Lobbyist," accessed January 21, 2012
  12. NV.gov "Search: public records," accessed January 21, 2012
  13. US PIRG, Following the Money: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data, March 14, 2012
  14. "50 states and no winners," State Integrity Investigation, StateIntegrity.org
  15. Nevada Corruption Risk Report Card, State Integrity Investigation, StateIntegrity.org
  16. e-mail exchange, cost of open Nevada
  17. Nevada on Open Secrets, 2010
  18. "Transparent Nevada" Nevada lawmakers introduce over 200 bills during Legislative session March 22,2011
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 2008 Nevada Public Employment U.S. Census Data
  20. Life Plan
  21. Additional Benefits
  22. [1]
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Benefits of State Employees
  24. Holidays
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 Pew Center on the States "The Trillion Dollar Gap" Feb. 2010
  26. "State Pensions and Retiree Healthcare Benefits: The Trillion Dollar Gap,” Pew Center on the States, accessed January 4, 2011
  27. Biggs, Andrew, “The Market Value of Public-Sector Pension Deficits,” AEI Outlook Series, no. 1 (2010)
  28. Novy-Marx, Robert and Joshua Rauh, 2010, "Public Pension Promises: How Big Are They and What Are They Worth," Journal of Finance (forthcoming)