Thursday, May 12 2011 8:07 PM EDT2011-05-13 00:07:49 GMT
Thursday was to be the final day of existence for the Clean Water Coalition, a regional agency which has apparently outlived its purpose. But the elected officials who oversee the coalition found a reason to keep the agency alive, at least for awhile longer.More>>
Chief Investigative Reporter George Knapp and Photojournalist Matt Adams
Tuesday, November 30 2010 8:12 PM EST2010-12-01 01:12:37 GMT
Government agencies don't often go out of business, but that's what is happening with a regional agency created to handle wastewater issues. If you think of the Clean Water Coalition as a gravy train, Tuesday the train put on the brakes and coasted into the station.More>>
I-Team Chief Investigative Reporter George Knapp and Photojournalist Matt Adams
Friday, August 27 2010 2:00 AM EDT2010-08-27 07:00:51 GMT
The end may be near for the Clean Water Coalition, a small, four-person agency with big plans. CWC spends about $7 million of public money each year, money paid in by every business and property owner in the valley. But, the agency doesn't really have a mission anymore. After the I-Team investigated CWC's lavish spending and salaries, the local governments which make up the agency started asking questions.More>>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 8:13 PM EDT2013-06-19 00:13:36 GMT
PAHRUMP, Nev. -- A fight between senators in Washington, D.C., could resurrect the controversial Yucca Mountain nuclear storage project in Nye County. Nye County leaders met Tuesday to support the openingMore>>
A fight between senators in Washington, D.C., could resurrect the controversial Yucca Mountain nuclear storage project in Nye County.More>>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 1:22 AM EDT2013-06-19 05:22:23 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- US Thrill Rides LLC Incorporated has submitted plans to the FAA to create a 650-foot roller coaster near the Tropicana Hotel. The Florida based company is remaining tight lipped on any ofMore>>
US Thrill Rides LLC Incorporated has submitted plans to the FAA to create a 650-foot roller coaster near the Tropicana Hotel.More>>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 10:49 PM EDT2013-06-19 02:49:28 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Clark County Fire Department is battling a fire at a house near Russell Road and Spencer Street. According to the fire department's website, the fire started at around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.More>>
A grass fire ignited a house in the 5400 block of Escondido Street, near Russell Road and Spencer Street, Tuesday afternoon.More>>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 9:50 PM EDT2013-06-19 01:50:28 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- A Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officer has been relieved of duty after pleading guilty to charges of possession of a controlled substance. Officer Ramin Amely was charged with two felonyMore>>
A Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officer has been relieved of duty after pleading guilty to charges of possession of a controlled substance.More>>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 7:14 PM EDT2013-06-18 23:14:30 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Three major resort projects in Las Vegas could be the boost the local economy needs. The construction and hospitality industries have struggled since the recession, but signs of a reboundMore>>
Three major resort projects in Las Vegas could be the boost the local economy needs. The construction and hospitality industries have struggled since the recession, but signs of a rebound are emerging.More>>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 7:08 PM EDT2013-06-18 23:08:21 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Clark County residents could soon be paying nearly 3 cents more a gallon for fuel, depending on a decision by county commissioners. The Nevada Legislature recently approved a bill that allowsMore>>
Clark County residents could soon be paying nearly 3 cents more a gallon for fuel, depending on a decision by county commissioners.More>>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 6:18 PM EDT2013-06-18 22:18:45 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- A domestic violence nonprofit organization that helps rescue women from violent relationships, is now itself in need of saving. Safe Faith United might have to shut its doors July 1 becauseMore>>
A domestic violence nonprofit organization that helps rescue women from violent relationships, is now itself in need of saving.More>>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 5:26 PM EDT2013-06-18 21:26:50 GMT
HENDERSON -- Imagine tens of thousands of children around the world learning to swim all at the same time. That's what happened Tuesday as part of "The World's Largest Swimming Lesson." The swimmingMore>>
Imagine tens of thousands of children around the world learning to swim all at the same time. That's what happened Tuesday as part of "The World's Largest Swimming Lesson."More>>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 3:33 PM EDT2013-06-18 19:33:34 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Motorcyclists and local authorities are using "Ride to Work" day to remind everyone to share the road. This year, there has been 16 motorcycle deaths in Nevada. John Cahill is an experiencedMore>>
Motorcyclists and local authorities are using "Ride to Work" day to remind everyone to share the road.More>>
Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani is mystified why the Clean Water Coalition exists at all.
"There is really no reason to have it, in my opinion," said Giunchigliani.
The general suspicion is that CWC is still around, because it provides generous incomes to a gaggle of politically-connected public officials.
Local governments are all but unanimous in the belief that CWC's primary mission, building a billion dollar wastewater pipeline into Lake Mead, is toast, unnecessary and far too expensive. CWC is an agency in search of a mission.
"Here it seems to be a justification to find anything to cobble together to create and keep this going. In my opinion, it needs to go away," said Giunchigliani.
CWC's own board members seem to share her doubts. At its most recent meeting, right after a rap music birthday video was played and donuts were handed out, member Steve Kirk, a Henderson City Councilman, mentioned the gorilla in the room.
"The formulation of the CWC was really to build a project which we don't think we're going to build now," he said.
Its mission is gone, along with its $60 million bankroll, but CWC is still good at spending money. It has a $7 million budget but only four employees. Rent in a nice building in Henderson is $215,000 a year. Another $300,000 goes for miscellaneous operating expenses. And $632,000 in salaries for the four employees, with the biggest chunk of that going to former County Commissioner Chip Maxfield.
While on the commission, Maxfield chaired the CWC panel. Now he works for it.
Former Las Vegas City Manager Doug Selby, who championed the CWC pipe project during his years at city hall, is now paid up to $23,000 per month to give advice and attend meetings. Even though Selby lives in New York, the public pays for his travel expenses.
The lady handing out donuts is a longtime political organizer who has worked for the campaigns of Maxfield and Kirk. Her contract pays her $165 an hour, up to $170,000 a year.
CWC has yet another P.R. contractor, also getting $13,000 per month, up to $170,000 a year for his one man company run from a private home in Boulder City.
The big money is for lawyers. Attorney Bob Marshall, the guy drafted the law creating CWC, is now its primary counsel and can bill up to $500,000 per year. Marshall is the attorney who advised CWC to not speak to reporters.
A second law firm gets up to $125,000. CWC also pays $7,000 a month for its own lobbyist in Washington.
And the CWC's four employees make hundreds of thousands in salary per year:
Chip Maxfield, GM: $150,000 + 74,669 in benefits
John Brumley - CWC Deputy General Manager: $108,111
Jim Devlin - CWC Engineering Manager: $111,530
Martha Jones - CWC Executive Assistant: $45,011
So why spend so much on consultants if there is no mission? Board member Steve Ross wonders the same thing. "We're trying to find out what that mission should be," he said.
The coalition's boldest gambit was in trying to slip in a monumentally generous wage and benefits package for the four employees. The presence of 8 News NOW's camera at the last meeting may have prompted the general manager to delay open conversation about the package, but here's what it would do: a first year employee would get 12 days of vacation, but since they work four 10 hour days, that's the equivalent of three weeks. They would also get 11 holidays, a paid day for birthdays, up to four administrative days off, more than three weeks of sick leave, extra days off for a wellness program, and in the second year, all of this increases. A first year employee could get 10 weeks off per year.
But there's more. CWC would pay 100-percent of health insurance, life insurance and retirement, plus a 401K deal with up to 8-percent raises and another potential 10-percent merit boost.
Maxfield first tried to get this plan approved without discussion. Board members said no deal. What do other public officials think of the sweet proposal?
"That is a disconnect from reality in my opinion," said Giunchigliani.
The I-Team did not interview Chip Maxfield for this story, nor would any of the board members speak with the I-Team on the advice of their private attorney. The attorney said since there is legal action pending with the state, no one from CWC can talk to reporters about anything.