Supreme Court Justices Caught
Hiding Pay Hikes In Bogus Budget
|All the worst suspicions of Nevada's Supreme Court justices burst into open flame this week when the high court's Chief Justice admitted salary increases for herself and others had been included in the court's proposed budget under headings for "digital equipment" and "family court study."|
| And while Chief Justice Mimi
Shearing denied she knew some of the money was hidden in
the budget that the court gave the Legislature, the
former director of the Nevada Supreme Court's
administrative office says she did.
"I sat right next to Miriam Shearing when we went through the budget request," said Don Mello. "She voted 'yes.'"
Shearing, before a joint budget subcommittee Tuesday, had blamed Mello for the false information. Then Mello, Wednesday night, emailed most state lawmakers a copy of a letter he had faxed to Shearing.
"If you will recall," said the letter, "it was at the court's direction (all five members present as well as the court clerk) that an entry was made in the budget for 'digital equipment.' "
Mello quit his job in February shortly after Shearing, in the court's normal rotation, took over as chief justice.
He described a pre-scripted plan where Shearing was to talk privately to members of Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means committees before any budget hearings. Then, in the committee hearing, Shearing was to withdraw the request for the $170,000
back-door attempts to
increase judicial pay after voters in 1994 rejected a
constitutional amendment to allow midterm raises for
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