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Jeff Mohlenkamp Already Tackling Challenges As Nevada’s New Budget Director

CARSON CITY – When Jeff Mohlenkamp decided to accept the job as Nevada’s newest budget director, he knew going in it was going to be a challenge.
The state’s economic slump continues to be a drag on funding government services, although gaming and sales tax revenues have shown some improvement in recent months.
The Department of Administration, which Mohlenkamp oversees as a significant part of his duties, is in the midst of a major merger, with the former Departments of Personnel and Information Technology coming under the agency’s umbrella.

And Mohlenkamp, who has the job of preparing the governor’s budget every two years for submission to the Nevada Legislature, will now be required to use a radically different process, called performance-based budgeting, to prepare the governor’s spending plan.
But after five weeks on the job, Mohlenkamp, 48, who has a varied background in state service dating back to 1986, is enjoying the challenge offered to him by Gov. Brian Sandoval, who named him to the position in June. Former budget director Andrew Clinger left following the end of the 2011 legislative session to become Reno city manager.
Mohlenkamp said his background and experience appeared to fit the bill for Sandoval.
“It’s a daunting task in some regards but I find it to be very exciting,” he said. “The challenges are many. It’s working right with the governor and his staff to achieve some of the over-arching goals of the state.”

Jeff Mohlenkamp, Nevada's new budget director. / Photo: Sean Whaley, Nevada News Bureau.

While times are tough, it is those very challenges that can push those in charge to step up and think critically about delivering state services in the most effective way, he said. But that process should be happening in good times as well.
“Sometimes tough times force us to modify the way we do business and look carefully at the way we do business, but it really is something we should be doing not only in difficult times but all the time,” Mohlenkamp said.
The state should be well served by the Legislature’s approval of a measure requiring performance-based budgeting, he said. The new process, also called priorities-based or activities-based budgeting, was partially implemented in the 2011 session by Clinger at the request of former Gov. Jim Gibbons.
Historically state agencies have just “rolled up” their program costs, based on increased caseloads and inflation, in preparing new budgets every two years. Programs were not regularly analyzed to determine if they were still needed.
“I think the ultimate goal, whatever terminology is used, is to move towards a different way of looking at state government and the functions it performs,” Mohlenkamp said. “And trying to evaluate what functions or activities government needs to be engaged in, and the relative value of those activities and those functions. It means looking at budgets through a different lens.”
The merger of the various former departments and agencies into the Department of Administration is a major challenge, but much of the work was already under way when he arrived on the job July 11, he said.
Bringing all the services the state provides to other agencies – from personnel needs to information technology – into one central agency, will provide the opportunity to improve services to the many different departments and divisions statewide, Mohlenkamp said.
“Looking at how we can better serve our customers is going to be one of my primary focuses,” he said.
Mohlenkamp’s career in state service began shortly after graduating from the University of Nevada, Reno, in 1986, with a degree in accounting and business management. He went to work for the Gaming Control Board, serving in different positions, including several years as a supervising investigator for the Corporate Securities Division. In this position he reviewed such major publicly held companies as Bally’s and IGT.
After 17 years with gaming, he went to work for the state Division of Internal Audits in 2003, doing performance based reviews of a variety of agencies, including many in the Department of Health and Human Services. From there he worked as the administrative services officer for the Division of Mental Health and Developmental Services, first working under former administrator Carlos Brandenburg, who Mohlenkamp cited as a mentor.
Brandenburg said he was fortunate to have Mohlenkamp as his ASO.
“What separated him from the previous ASOs that worked for me is that a lot of the ASOs strictly crunched the numbers,” he said. “Jeff separated himself because he not only crunched the numbers, and he was very, very good at that, but he also wanted to understand services.
“I knew for a fact that the governor was going to get himself a great, hardworking person,” Brandenburg said. “A person that looks at the numbers, and crunches the numbers, but he also tries to understand the service part of the system.
“What he tells you you can take to the bank,” he said.
Mohlenkamp then moved to the Department of Corrections, where he served as a deputy director of support services, overseeing inmate services, and legislative and financial matters.
Both with mental health and corrections, Mohlenkamp spent a lot of time at the Legislature testifying on budgets, experience that will no doubt serve him well when he has to present Sandoval’s next budget in 2013.
Mohlenkamp said he considers himself a straight shooter, giving lawmakers the information they need to make decisions.
“My goal is to answer straight questions with straight answers,” he said. “The legislative process isn’t always fun, but it’s always interesting.”
Sandoval said Mohlenkamp had the qualities he was looking for in a budget director.
“Jeff is somebody that I’ve known who has served the state with distinction for many, many years,” Sandoval said. “I first met him when he was at gaming when I was on the Gaming Commission. He has also worked at Health and Human Services, he’s worked at prisons, he has testified in front of the Legislature, he has a tremendous amount of experience with budgets, he is very proud of his state and very committed. And so all those attributes were what I was looking for in terms of a budget director.”
“Obviously Andrew Clinger is going to be somebody who is difficult to replace, but Jeff has already dived straight into the job and is doing a great, great service for the people of Nevada,” he said.
When he isn’t putting in long hours in his new job, Mohlenkamp said he likes to sail, scuba dive and spend time with his two children.

Audio clips:
New state Budget Director Jeff Mohlenkamp says performance-based budgeting will require a new type of analysis:
081811Mohlenkamp1 :26 and those functions.”
Mohlenkamp says state agencies should be evaluating their programs in good times as well as bad:
081911Mohlenkamp2 :13 all the time.”
Mohlenkamp says his new job is daunting but exciting:
081911Mohlenkamp3 :23 of their careers.”
Former MHDS Administrator Carlos Brandenburg says Mohlenkamp did not just crunch the numbers:
081911Brandenburg1 :20 to understand services.”
Brandenburg says Sandoval recruited a great budget director:
081911Brandenburg2 :15 of the system.”
Gov. Brian Sandoval says Mohlenkamp has served the state with distinction for many years:
081911Sandoval1 :26 a budget director.”
Sandoval says Mohlenkamp has dived right into the job:
081911Sandoval2 :11 people of Nevada.”


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CARSON CITY — Messy executions in Arizona and Ohio that made national headlines could buoy efforts by death penalty opponents to stave off capital punishment for some 80 Nevada inmates awaiting execution.

The cases could be used to pile on to the ever-growing number of legal challenges to capital punishment in the Silver State, adding the argument that the use of lethal injection should be considered a cruel and unusual form of punishment, said Clark County Deputy Public Defender Scott Coffee.

In the last three weeks we have had two pedestrians struck by vehicles while in crosswalks. For many this may not seem like a large number but even two is too many.

With the increase in traffic during the summer months and along with it a large amount of pedestrians out and about; we must all do our part to ensure the safety of those crossing the roadways.

CARSON CITY %u2014 Mention the Equal Rights Amendment today and it might bring back memories of the 1970s, from huge protest marches to "ERA Yes" buttons.

But the proposed constitutional amendment, which fell three states short of the 38 needed to win ratification by a 1979 deadline that Congress later extended to 1982, is not a relic in Nevada.

Scammers are at it again; most recently I received a letter from a citizen who was informed that they had won the “Inter-American Lotto Powerball” held in Hawaii. Having never been to Hawaii, the individual was pretty certain they did not win.

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I was not the first to share the news of the Hyatt Hotel project; as it was already alluded to by the Northern Nevada Development Association on its website. In addition to numerous rumors that ran rampant throughout the community.

A wildfire in Northern California has destroyed five homes and several other structures near vineyards in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

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For all you car lovers out there, go down to Mills Park today and tomorrow for the Silver Dollar Car Show. You will see a lot of great classic cars without all the heat and crowds of Hot August Nights.

Nevada Power has amended its general rate increase request in a filing Friday with the state Public Utilities Commission, raising the revenue requirement to $37.8 million from the $20.8 million sought originally May 2.

Bark Whine and Dine to benefit the Carson Animal Services Initiative will be Sunday, July 27, at Fuji Park in Carson City.

The event will start at 1 p.m. and includes a barbecue lunch with food provided by Foodies Bystro and entertainment by Jake Houston. Proceeds from the event will help to build the new animal shelter in Carson City.

Carson City’s NV150 Fair is breaking the mold by offering free admittance to the fair opening after the official ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday, July 31.

The ceremony begins at 11 a.m. Following speeches by Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and Carson City Mayor Robert Crowell, fairgoers will be treated to Carson City’s first ever fair at Fuji Park and the fairgrounds. There are no admission fees to enter the fairgrounds.

Make a bowl to fight hunger.  Free event for all ages

Enjoy a free family event this Saturday. Come and make an Empty Bowl to donate to the Empty Bowls Carson City Project in the lower level of the Children's Museum. 813 N Carson St, Carson City, NV.
All ages welcome. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 26.

For more information on upcoming events, please like our Facebook page here and visit our website here.

Here is the Carson City area road report for July 29 through Aug. 3, 2014. The Nevada sesquicentennial Fair will be held at Fuji Park July 30 through August 3. Additional traffic may be expected in the area. Off-site parking will be at the Casino Fandango with free bus rides to and from the fair.

The Nevada Department of Transportation will be continuing road work on Highway 50 from Deer Run Road in Carson City to just east of Highway 341 in Mound House. There will be single lane closures on weeknights from 8 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.

A former Nevada lawmaker who led California police on a high-speed chase on the day he was expelled from the state Assembly has been ordered to two years and eight months in prison.

Living the Good Life, a new upscale nightclub on the corner of Adams and North Carson Street, is celebrating its grand opening tonight with live music and dancing.

Doors open at 5 p.m., and close when the party stops. Starting at 9 p.m. Dane Reinhart will be playing music and serving as DJ.

Carson City fire and ambulance were called this afternoon to a pedestrian struck by a vehicle in the 400 block of North Carson Street.

The victim was taken by Care Flight to the trauma ward of Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno.

The accident was reported to Carson City dispatch at 2:26 p.m. Carson City sheriff's deputies were redirecting traffic around the accident scene.

Care Flight landed behind a nearby casino parking lot at Robinson Street. No other details were available on the victim.

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See the full report below.

A Carson City couple were jailed Thursday on felony drug charges, including suspicion of providing marijuana to minors in exchange for chores, a Carson City sheriff’s deputy said.

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This week's episode of Women to Women features Lori Bagwell and Karen Abowd. Two residents who are running for Supervisor, but in different wards — Abowd, Ward 1 as an Incumbent and Bagwell in Ward 3.

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Carson City area casinos, which include those in Minden, Gardnerville and all other areas of Douglas County except Stateline, report a 5.5 percent decrease in gaming revenue for June, taking in $7,934,128 compared to June 2013 where gaming profits were $8,396,690.

Nevada’s nonrestricted gaming licensees reported a total “gaming win” of $906,904,294 in June 2014.