(Nancy Dallas/News Desk) – The Nevada Policy Research Institute’s new informational page allowing public access to public payrolls is a fun place to visit. You can find the salaries of most County employees throughout the State of Nevada, including Lyon County.
Elected officials salaries have been easily accessible for many years. They are set by state statute – and increase according to state set formulas. These formulas include the size of the County and years of service. These formulas sometimes lead to employees within an office earning more than their boss!
Salaries of other County officials, however, have not always been so easily accessible, (School district and some City and County salaries are not posted) so it was with a great deal of surprise when I found out who the highest paid employee in Lyon County is. I assumed it would be the County Manager. In perusing other county and city salary structures, I guess I should have known better.
Central Lyon County Fire Chief John Gillenwater’s salary in 2009 was $200,979, including pay and benefits. The next highest listed salary was for the County Manager position (Dennis Stark at that time), listed at $156,982. Five of the top twelve salaries belong to Central Lyon County Fire District employees. (Fernley and Yerington were not posted)
This aroused my curiosity as to how fire employees in other Cities and Counties rank on their payrolls. The results proved interesting:
• North Las Vegas – Assistant Fire Chief was tops at $661,831; next was a Police Lt. at $284,482
• Clark County – Seven of the top eight wage earners are fire related positions, ranging from the Fire District Volunteer Coordinator topping the list at $474,559 to $315,848
• Henderson – A Fire Battalion Chief ranked third at $400,983; First was the Senior Assistant City Attorney ($550,909)
• Las Vegas – the top four money earners were fire related employees, ranging from a Fire Captain at $361,476 to $302,736; Next in line was the City Manager at $300,452
• Reno – Top six money earners are fire related positions, ranging from $272,544 to $251,938; City Chief of Staff was next at $231,617
• Washoe County – A Fire Captain ranked fourth at $229,139 behind the City Manager at $248,523
• Sparks – County Manager tops ($262,850); Fire Chief second ($212,398)
• Lyon County – Fire Chief first at $200,979, County Manager second at $156,982
• Carson City – Fire Battalion Chief ranked first ($183,641), and fire related positions had three of the top four salaries.
• City of Elko – Fire Chief ranked second ($162,832) behind the City Manager ($166,615). Four of top seven wage earners are fire related positions
• Douglas County – An Undersheriff topped the list at $181,072, with a Deputy Fire Chief listed fourth at $173,354. The Chief made $169,589
• Mesquite – The Fire Chief was third ($145,100), behind the City Manager ($172,062) and the Police Chief ($171,689)
This is not being written as an opinion or judgment one way or another, but simply as an informational piece. Lyon County has outstanding individuals working within the various departments and in this past year voluntarily cooperated with the County Commission and financial staff during a very difficult budget process, and through employee sacrifices, enabled the saving of several positions – that otherwise would have been cut.
Not having paid much attention to the Central Lyon County Fire District in recent years, I assume the taxpayer supported GID is spending its money wisely and residents are pleased with the service.
To access the full listing of county and city employee salaries, go to: