Monday, January 20, 2003

THROUGH THE ROOF: The Review-Journal's five-part investigation of the state budget mess wrapped up today, with a preview of tonight's State of the State address by Kenny Guinn. One highlight of the series was yesterday's installment, which spelled out the lucrative salaries and benefits Nevada's public employees receive.

Another startling bit of info was revealed in this graphic which spells out how much more money public employees in several classifications make than the statewide average. The conventional wisdom states that on average, public employee salaries are pushed upward because the overall compensation package provided to entry-level workers -- secretaries, custodians, etc. -- is much higher than that the same employees in the private sector receive. But once you reach the top of the food chain, the private sector offers much better pay and benefits; that's why it's so difficult to find top-flight managers to run government departments. (Hence the constant wailing about "brain drains" or "talent deficits" from Guinn, county and city managers, and various state department heads.)

On Nevada, however, that's not true. Consider this comparison of CEO salaries:

Statewide (public and private) $115,370

State government $117,000

Clark County $175,000

City of Las Vegas $148,663

The lesson is clear: Want to get rich in Nevada? Get a government job.

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