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Seven more jobs cut at RSCVA
by Tribune Staff
Apr 04, 2011 | 2673 views | 1 1 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune/Dan McGee - The RSCVA announced seven job eliminations Monday, citing a $3 million budget shortfall in the coming year.
Tribune/Dan McGee - The RSCVA announced seven job eliminations Monday, citing a $3 million budget shortfall in the coming year.
RENO — Seven more jobs were eliminated at the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority (RSCVA) on Monday, the result of the agency’s ever-mounting financial troubles.

Two people were laid off last week, meaning Monday’s losses bring the recent total to nine. One of the job cuts announced Monday was a vacant position that will not be filled. The RSCVA is offering severance packages to the eight affected employees.

The RSCVA is projecting a budget deficit of approximately $3 million for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, the result of the continued recession in both the national and local economy, according to a press release.

“The decision to reduce staff is always a difficult one,” RSCVA Interim President and CEO Joe Kelley said in a statement. “Facing the projected shortfall for the upcoming budget, it’s an unfortunate but necessary action. The proposed budget cuts will maintain the RSCVA’s current operations, and will allow the organization to continue its focus on bringing new tourism and convention business to the region.”

Agency officials also are proposing that the one-week furlough program they implemented two years ago be extended to 12 days without pay for all full-time employees in the coming fiscal year.

With most of its funding tied to room tax revenue, the authority has seen its budget fall about 28 percent since 2008, to about $33 million, and its staff cut by about one-third to a current total of 94 full-time employees with five more being sought to fill vacancies.

The RSCVA’s operating budget for the current fiscal year is $33,053,461, down from a recent high of $45,793,504 in 2008-2009.

Kelly was named interim president/CEO in February after Ellen Oppenheim resigned, saying she needed to be with her ill mother in Texas. Oppenheim is remaining on the payroll until summer under terms of her original $225,000-a-year contract signed in 2006.

The RSCVA board of directors will address the projected budget shortfall during a workshop in April and is scheduled to vote on a proposed budget at its May 19 meeting.

Additional staff cuts are not being pursued at this time, according to the RSCVA release.
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April 05, 2011
The RSCVA is just another example of corporate welfare, and it should be shut down immediately, thereby saving taxpayers more than $33 million dollars annually. If casinos and other industry want to pay groups to visit the Reno area, then they should be footing the bill.

And it's absurd that we're paying government employees severance packages. Nevada is an at-will employment state, so non-government workers do not receive severance packages when being laid off.

Our government leaders need to do some serious brainstorming about Nevada's future. We have limited water resources and land sitting on earthquake fault lines, so we can't keep bringing in new business and people in order to sustain reckless government spending.

Nevada should immediately switch government employees to 401 K programs with diverse investment tools (including investing in safe CDs and riskier but potentially more profitable individual stocks).

By switching to 401 K programs, Nevada's state and local governments will be able to reduce matching to zero during economic downturns. This practice worked well for corporations during the recent economic downturn. Companies with 401 Ks were able to cut costs and reduce debt, whereas companies with pension plans have heavily indebted balance sheets and at some point in the near future will have to negotiate deep cuts in employee pensions or file for Chapter 11.

If the government employees' unions won't negotiate deep cuts in pensions and agree to switch to 401 Ks, then Nevada's leaders must create laws that will allow state and local governments to default on current and future pensions. Pensions and benefits for retired government workers are nothing more than expensive Ponzi schemes strangling Nevada's economic future until our state and its cities are bankrupt.

I believe the reckless and unsustainable pension funds and benefits were implemented by local and state leaders who directly or indirectly benefitted by their reckless spending and negotiations with government employee unions. I believe that, if Nevada's attorney general filed a lawsuit on behalf of Nevada's taxpayers, we would win the ability to slash the cost of existing pensions and benefits and phase future pensions into 401 Ks.

These are desperate times. And it's time that our leaders are proactive rather than reactive in determining Nevada's destiny.
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