Responding to a Nevada Journal news story, the North Las Vegas Fire Department on Wednesday released copies of previously undisclosed employment agreements with Nevada Assembly Speaker John Oceguera, who also is the department’s assistant fire chief.
The documents describe schedules outlining the assemblyman’s fire department work obligations during the 2009 and 2011 legislative sessions, when he was also acting as a top officer of the Nevada Assembly — in 2009 as Democratic majority leader and in 2011 as speaker.
According to the documents, Oceguera and the department agreed that during the 2009 legislative session he would work 18 hours a week for the department, half of his normal fire department work week. For the 2011 session, the agreement specified he would work for the department at least nine hours a week. For the balance of the legislative sessions’ work weeks, he would take annual and holiday leave and unpaid furlough days.
The department thus confirmed on the record that Oceguera was being paid by North Las Vegas taxpayers during a significant amount of the time he was at the 2009 Legislature and also when at the 2011 Legislature. During that time he was also being paid by Nevada taxpayers as a state legislator.
The Nevada Constitution specifies that state legislative sessions run for a minimum of 120 calendar days, with no interruption. That means any paid work by a government employee/lawmaker for his government employer during that period is, by definition, “double-dipping.”
The story Nevada Journal reported Wednesday arose out of a reporter’s request for staffing-log records showing when all personnel in the department worked. The department then sent Nevada Journal staffing records that department officials now say do not accurately report top officers’ work schedules.
A fire department spokesman also had informed Nevada Journal that the staffing records the department provided are the basis for the department payroll. Now department officials say that is not true — at least when it comes to the department’s top officers.
Steven Miller is the managing editor of Nevada Journal, a publication of the Nevada Policy Research Institute. For more coverage on Oceguera, please read "Speaker Oceguera -- another government 'double-dipper?"
To read NPRI's press release regarding Oceguera, please click here.