Reno emergency manager decides not to retire amid coronavirus crisis

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The city of Reno won’t be losing its emergency manager in the midst of the coronavirus crisis after all.

Reno Fire Division Chief Bob Leighton has decided not to go through with his planned retirement on April 9, Councilman Devon Reese said late Tuesday.

Leighton had filed his retirement paperwork in February before the coronavirus emergency began.

The Reno City Council had been set to consider declaring a “critical labor shortage” for Leighton’s position, which would have allowed him to be hired back after retiring.

Under that scenario, Leighton, 44, would collect both his pension check from the Public Employees Retirement System and his regular paycheck from the city. Leighton made nearly $244,000 last year, including a base salary of $183,000, according to Transparent Nevada.

It was estimated he may have earned between $300,000 and $400,000 a year if he had collected both checks.

“I understand Chief Leighton is going to continue in the service of the city and not going to retire as he originally planned,” Reese said.

City staff had proposed the critical labor shortage plan as a way to keep continuity during the coronavirus emergency response. The plan also may have saved the city its PERS contribution for Leighton, estimated to be more than $40,000.   

Anjeanette Damon is the government watchdog reporter for the RGJ. You can reach her at adamon@rgj.com or follow her on Twitter @AnjeanetteDamon. If you care about shining a bright light on decisions made by your elected officials, please consider subscribing to the Reno Gazette Journal.

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