KRNV News 4 | Groups fears "staggering" public employee pension payouts

Finding from TUA’s pension project on Las Vegas, Nevada, are featured in this story from KRNV News 4. To see video of the story, click on the image below.

CARSON CITY, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) – A taxpayer watchdog group is calling for reform of the Public Employees Retirement System after claiming to have uncovered some, “shocking and staggering information.”

The group Taxpayers United of America released new estimates Tuesday that out of Sparks, Reno, Washoe County and Washoe County School District at least 400 public employees could see pension payouts of $3 million or more during their lifetimes. 55 might make an estimated $5 million or more.  They predict that one employee may even earn over $9 million after he stops working for the taxpayer.

“These are payout for people who are no long productive. They are being paid not to work. Millions of dollars at taxpayer expense largely,” TUA Spokesperson Rae Ann McNeilly said.

The group says Washoe County Superintendent Heath Morrison tops the list with about an estimated $9.5 million worth of pension payouts over his lifetime. But the school district’s chief accountant says there are concern about the formulas used to calculate that number, and the fact that Morrison is about to leave and hasn’t put in enough time yet.

“Before anyone can earn any retirement they have to vest in the system and the vesting period for PERS is five years. And Doctor Morrison has only been here for three years,” Tom Ciesynski said.

News 4 found similar concerns among most of the other top 10 people on the list presented.

“Nevada doesn’t release pensions,” McNeilly said. “We have to take current employee salaries and estimate. so while that’s inaccurate to the letter, it does give people a glimpse into the potential of what some of these high staggering payouts are.”

The head of PERS here declined an on-camera interview. But she says their statue prevents the release of that information.  The issue is currently headed to the Nevada Supreme Court after a different group requested the same information.

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