More crocodile tears from state workers in Carson City

About 50 people rallied outside the Legislature in Carson City Wednesday to demand pay raises and an end to unpaid furlough days, according to the Nevada Appeal. (Most of the story is behind a pay wall.)

The story quotes Shara Lynn Kern, a DMV worker for 13 years, as saying, “We have state employees who live in their cars, are on public assistance.”

Rally for more pay at the state Legislature. (Nevada Appeal photo)

Perhaps, but according to there is a Sheralynn Kern, who works as a DMV Services Technician 3 and saw her base pay cut about $1,600 from 2011 to 2012. One can’t determine what happened to state workers’ total compensation, including benefits, because those weren’t reported to the Nevada Policy Research Institute, which maintains, for the years 2008 to 2011.

By comparison, according to the Census Bureau, the median household income in Nevada has fallen 14 percent since 2008, when the recession kicked in.

Since 2008 this Kern’s base pay actually increased a couple hundred dollars, and, going back to 2007, when total compensation was last reported, her total compensation — what comes out of the taxpayers’ pocket — has increased from $37,000 in 2007 to more than $58,000 in 2012.

The Appeal also quoted a Jennifer Cooper, described as a 20-year veteran of NDOT, as saying, “The cuts have been excruciating to my family. We’ve lost our home; we can no longer afford preventative medical care.”
Meanwhile, a Jennifer L. Cooper, who is listed as a Transportation Planner/Analyst 2, did see her pay reduced 6.4 percent since 2008. In 2012 she racked up nearly $43,000 in benefits. There was no listing in 2007.
Vicky McVeigh, a welfare employee for 22 years, told the newspaper the cuts have been so severe that “we will never regain the things we had prior to the decline.”
And neither will many of those in the private sector, I suspect.
A Vicki Y. McVeigh, who apparently was promoted from Family Services Specialist 2 in 2011 to Business Process Analyst 1 in 2012, actually got a pay increase of $5,000. Though her base pay was cut by nearly $20,000 since 2008, and there could be many reasons for that, her total compensation since 2007 is actually up nearly $6,000.
“We have lost buying power,” the paper quoted Janet Brooks, a 13-year state worker, as saying. “We’ve lost our house, our security, our dignity.”
A Janet R. Brooks, a Revenue Officer 2, had a $2,000 cut in base pay between 2011 and 2012, but the base pay is about the same as in 2008. Since receiving a promotion in 2007 her total compensation has more than doubled — from less than $30,000 to more than $68,000.
Keith Uriarte, chief of staff for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, was quoted as saying some state workers have had pay cuts exceeding 20 percent. Perhaps he should have brought a few of them to the rally.
And perhaps the reporter should have looked up a couple of those salaries on
Here is some data from “Governing” on public and private sector job losses during the recession:
nevada job loss jpg

24 comments on “More crocodile tears from state workers in Carson City

  1. Bill says:

    I can not feel sorry for Goverment employee’s, they have caught up with the Private sector that has been dealing with the same issue since ’08.

  2. They have not caught up. They are still well ahead.

    Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation reveals 2012 Nevada average weekly wages of: private sector, $815; state government, $898; local government, $996; federal government, $1,251.

  3. nyp10025 says:

    Do those numbers adjust for skill/education/experience/job classification?

  4. Oh, that’s right, government workers are just more skilled and smarter.

    First I first started reporting 40 years ago I was told job security, better benefits and early retirement for public employees made up for lower pay. What is the excuse now? They are just better than us.


  5. nyp10025 says:

    No, that is not the argument at all.

    The argument goes something like this. Government workers are more likely to be employed in occupations that command a higher level of compensation than do workers in the private sector. For example, a higher percentage of Nevada state and local employees are judges, prosecutors and other lawyers than in the private sector. That shouldn’t be a surprise — prosecuting people and adjudicating disputes are core functions of state and local government. So having a larger percentage of high-compensation employees in your “pool” leads to a higher median compensation level than then one would have in a larger pool with a lower percentage of higher-than-averge compensated employees.

    That is the argument, Mr. Mitchell. Now, as an empirical matter, the argument might be correct or incorrect. That is why I asked the question you thought was so absurd and insulting. But that is the argument.

    Does that make sense to you now?

  6. The private sector income fell 14 percent. The government workers’ did not.


  7. nyp10025 says:

    That is indeed a reply, albeit not to the subject we were discussing.
    In any event,I don’t know about the accuracy of your statistic about income decreases, but I do know that the greatest rate of actual job loss during the Great Recession was in the public sector.

  8. Scroll down to the chart showing state and local government losses compared to private sector.

  9. Steve says:

    Mitch and Nyp, you are both wrong.
    The following are about federal numbers but they follow nicely to all levels of government.
    Fact, no true apples to apples comparison is possible due to lack of real data on the subject. All sides are using their own cherry picked information.

  10. nyp10025 says:

    That is an interesting set of data, and it causes me to revise my assertion. What it tells us (together with the reporting in the article) is that President Obama’s rescue package helped stem some of the job loss during the worst periods of the Great Recession by providing stimulus money to maintain employment of teachers, cops, firemen, etc. As the stimulus funds came to an end, public sector austerity continued to drain jobs and income, and, as most economists have recognized, prolonged the unemployment impact of the Great Recession. Since the recovery began, private sector job growth has far outpaced the public sector.
    Overall, under President Obama the public sector has shed over 710,000 government jobs.

  11. Steve says:

    Once again you are picking your data set carefully. You should note it is extremely rare for public sector employment to drop during recessions. This “Great Recession” is far and away out of the norm for public sector employees.
    Furthermore the public sector is the last to feel the effects of recession and the last to recover when they ARE effected.
    Far and away the public sector does not notice recessionary effects during the whole of their employment years.

  12. nyp10025 says:

    I don’t know from where you get your assertion that “it is extremely rare for public sector employment to drop during recessions.” However, I would agree that public sector job losses during the Great Recession and the ensuring recovery were far steeper and longer-lasting than in other recessions. In part, that is simply a function of the fact that the Great Recession was, indeed, the worst economic downturn in America since the Great Recession of the 1930s. It is also due to the fact that, apart from the 2009 federal stimulus, legislatures have refused to protect public sector jobs and have, in fact, used the recession as a means of cutting public sector employment — further exacerbating the contractionary effect of the recession.

  13. Steve says:

    In addition to being guard/reserve my brother is also a lifetime federal employee. He work in IT. He could make more in the private sector and gets offers all the time. He keeps his federal job for the security. I have never seen the offers and do not know how the benefits compare to his federal benefits.
    However, this was the very first time in his employment history he was notified of POSSIBLE furlough day requirements. Those did not happen. There have been many recessions over the duration of his career and there will more before he retires.

    Call it family experience and consider I also know and work with quite a few other government employees. I consider all of them good people and all of them are hard workers. None of them have suffered in previous recessions at all. This is the first time it has entered the public sector since the middle 1930’s.

    Both my brother and I are in high skill fields and both of us are hard to replace. I am in the private sector and my employer felt the crash, while my brother wanted me to apply in the federal sector cause they were “still hiring”. I watched many people fall by the wayside and took the furlough days as required, while he only had to deal with a potential requirement to take some unpaid days off just last year!

    Personal experience and family trump your non cited stats, Nyp.

  14. Nyp says:

    Although I disagree with you regarding the value of anecdotes vs. data, I appreciate your brother’s continuing public service.

  15. Steve says:

    If you don’t like anecdotes, then provide proof of your statement from today May 30, 2013 at 1:46 pm
    Unless you prefer I call it anecdotal and useless.

  16. Steve says:

    OK here ya go Nyp.
    Once again someone else does your work for you. Fun dry reading shows what I say is true overall.
    “Of course, this is not the first time government workers have lost jobs. But rarely have there been job losses of this magnitude—almost 19,000 from the first quarter of 2010 to the same quarter of 2012, or about 2 percent of the 1 million public sector workers in Ninth District states. In past recessions, public sector employment tended not to decline dramatically, in part because most recessions have been fairly brief, and governments often prefer belt-tightening to dramatic cuts in personnel.”

    Almost the same wording I used, hmmm…

  17. nyp10025 says:

    I dont’ disagree with any of that

  18. Steve says:

    Well then, with what do you agree?

  19. nyp10025 says:

    I agree that public employment job loss was far greater and longer-lasting during the Great Recession than in most previous economic downturns.
    This is one of the factors that has contributed to the slow pace of economic recovery.

  20. Steve says:

    Baby steps.

  21. Steve says:

    When it devolves to that crap I declare forfeit by the opposing party.
    Game,set and match.

  22. nyp10025 says:

    Old fellow, you have admitted that recessions are made worse when governments practice austerity by laying off public employees. Your comments read like a Paul Krugman blog post.

    Welcome to the team!

  23. Steve says:

    Figures, that selective blindness you guys employ to make everything seem as though it supports your flawed theories.
    I knew you would pull that one out.

    My point stands, this recession was big enough to effect public employees and rarely do recessions effect public employees.
    Never did I make any allusion to government spending, though it is a part of the equation when working through a downturn.
    Note the phrase “governments often prefer belt-tightening “. Reads austerity to me. I know that was one of the bits your blinders blocked. I am glad you live in a rose colored world, Nyp!

    Take the glasses off.

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