I-Team: Salary Tracker shows OT charges up at detention ctr.

LAS VEGAS -- The I-Team is tracking down public employee salaries to see how your tax dollars are being spent.

In 2012, the I-Team highlighted firefighter overtime and it 2013, it highlighted the millions of dollars spent in severance pay. This year, the Clark County jails are the ones drawing attention in the 8 News NOW Salary Tracker.

Local government salary spending these past years has been like a train braking to a near stop. The recession brought layoffs that slowed the growth in government salaries, but that train is starting to gather speed again in some instances.

The prime example would be at the Clark County Detention Center. Metro Police and Clark County are paying a lot more overtime to jail officers. Compared to last year's numbers, Metro's overtime charges are 30 percent higher. That's $3 million.

Seventy-seven of the top 100 Metro Police overtime earners were corrections officers.

"The renovation of the north tower and the fact that we now have more inmates at the north valley complex. The north valley complex is staffed with overtime." Sheriff Doug Gillespie explains. "I understand that revenues aren't what they were years ago and I understand that they're back to what they were years ago. But I know we have an inmate population what it was years ago and it continues to grow."

The jail's deputy chief says Clark County commissioners declined his department's budget requests.

"It's not just a couple of million dollars. You're talking at the Clark County Detention Center a $20 to $30 million shortfall," Gillespie said.

Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak says past tax increases paid for more police officers without thinking about paying for jail guards to watch criminals.

"What's happening is pre-sentencing investigations are taking longer at the state level, which means they're being held at the detention center and taking up bed days," Sisolak said.

The Nevada Policy Research Institute's Geoff Lawrence reviewed the same numbers and offers his expert opinion.

"There's grounds to launch some type of investigation. It may be that this is for some legitimate reasons. But when you see a 30 percent spike from year-to-year, that should raise a red flag for you."

North Las Vegas has long been a topic of the I-Team's salary tracker stories. Layoffs and retirements at their jail, fire department and city hall meant the city was paying out $5 million dollars each year in separation pay. Those days are over, but the average base pay among North Las Vegas city workers is up from $54,000 to $73,000. That means the city kept more of its experienced workers, losing employees at lower pay scales.

"When you see average salary increasing by $20,000 from year-to-year, that can be a problem down the road. These older people are going to retire more quickly so you'll have to have some new talent coming in to replace them. Now you've laid off the people who were gaining that institutional knowledge," Lawrence said.

Nevada's largest employer, Clark County School District, shows virtually the same salary numbers this year compared to last. The same goes for the City of Las Vegas while Henderson is still showing decreases in what its paying.


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