About the Board
The Board of the Public Employees Benefits Program helps to make decisions regarding the program, with the ultimate goal of helping PEBP best serve Nevada public employees and their benefit-plan needs.
The PEBP Board consists of ten members appointed by the Governor. Each appointee represents a specific class of public employees and retirees—these include the Nevada System of Higher Education, retired public employees, state employees, and local government employees. Additionally, two members must have substantial and demonstrated experience in risk management, health care administration or employee benefits programs. One member must be employed in a managerial capacity for the Department of Administration. NRS 287.041
LAURA FREED, Board Chair
Governor Sisolak appointed Laura Freed as Director of the Department of Administration in January 2020. She has been in state service since 2003, working as an Executive Branch Budget Officer in the Governor’s Finance Office, serving as Deputy Administrator for Regulatory Services within the Division of Public and Behavioral Health at the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, and working as Program Analyst within the Legislative Counsel Bureau’s Fiscal Analysis Division. In her work at both the Governor’s Finance Office and the Legislative Counsel Bureau, Laura had responsibility for the PEBP budgets, and brings an understanding of PEBP’s fiscal and program history to the Board.
Laura received a bachelor’s degree in Political Economy of Natural Resources from the University of California, Berkeley. She also has a master’s degree in Urban Planning from the University of Washington.
LINDA FOX, Vice Chair
Linda S. Fox is a 27 year resident of Nevada and the mother of two grown sons.
She has served as Chief Pharmacist for the Nevada Department of Corrections since 2009 and worked as a staff pharmacist for the Department since 2004. In this capacity she has been instrumental in saving the Department over $10,000,000 through Inventory and Formulary management.
She served on the Board of Directors for the Community Outreach Medical Center, a non profit clinic for five years.
Linda created CPCPD, the Coalition of Public Correctional Pharmacy Directors in 2010. This group exists to provide information sharing for pharmacy leadership in the public sector specific to management of correctional systems. As a group, these pharmacy directors are responsible for more than 500,000 inmate patients.
Ms. Fox graduated from the University of Wyoming with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy in 1990.
Tom Verducci is currently a representative of Voya Financial, serving public employees’ 457 Deferred Compensation Plans, primarily servicing Washoe County employees. Prior to that he was a Retirement Education Specialist with MassMutual, providing investment services to Washoe County and the City of Reno Employees’ 457 Deferred Compensation Programs. He is a 1985 graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno, and holds a B.S. in Business Administration with a major in Finance.
He holds a General Securities Series 7 General Security License, Series 65 License and a Nevada Health, Life and Variable Annuities License.
In 1987 Tom began his career providing services to the State of Nevada Deferred Compensation Plan. He has also served as a Financial Advisor for Prudential Securities and held a Director position with Citigroup (formerly Copeland). Tom returned to The Hartford in 2002 and provided services once again to the State of Nevada Deferred Compensation Program from 2006-2012. Tom also spent two years with Great-West Life as an Associate Regional Director.
He has assisted nearly 20,000 Nevada residents with their retirement needs over a three decade period and has held the roles of Western Division Regional Director, Nevada Senior Regional Manager, Team Lead and Senior Account Representative with The Hartford.
ELIZABETH (BETSY) AIELLO
Betsy, now retired, is a 40 year resident of Nevada having completed her entire working career in Nevada’s health care industry. She received a BS in Occupational Therapy from San Jose State University and a MBA from the University of Nevada, Reno. Betsy worked for 20 years in Reno area hospitals, progressing from a staff Occupational Therapist into administrative positions. She served as Director of Clinical Services and Interim Administrator of a Physical Rehabilitation Hospital.
Betsy transitioned her career to working in public service. She worked for the State of Nevada Division of Health Care Financing and Policy, also known as Nevada Medicaid and The Children’s Health Insurance Program. During her time at the DHCFP Betsy managed Nevada’s Home and Community Based Waiver Programs (home based supportive care), was Chief of Nevada Check Up and completed her career as the DHCFP Deputy Administrator.
Betsy has held prior appointments on the Nevada Occupational Therapy Board and the Nevada Interagency Council on Homelessness. She also held various positions at the Nevada Occupational Therapy Association and the American Occupational Therapy Association.
Betsy was appointed to the PEBP Board in July 2020.
Michelle Kelley is the Director of Retirement Plan Administration for the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE). In this position, she serves as Chair of the NSHE Retirement Plan Advisory Committee and directs the operations of the NSHE defined contribution 401(a) mandatory retirement plan and the associated 403(b) retirement plans. Prior to this, Michelle was the Benefit Manager for the NSHE Business Center North at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she was responsible for the sourcing and delivery of benefits to the employees of UNR, TMCC, DRI, WNC and GBC, including the delivery of health insurance offered by the Public Employee’s Benefits Program.
Michelle has worked in benefits administration for over 18 years in both public and private settings. Over her career, Michelle has been involved in all aspects of the benefits pipeline—from analysis, design, and pricing through to sourcing and delivery. This background has given her a deep understanding of the complexity of the issues involved in developing a benefit package that is both cost effective and valued by employees.
Michelle has been a member of the Public Employees Benefits Program since 2008 and has assisted both employees and retirees in navigating and maximizing the benefits provided by PEBP. She has advocated for employees facing billing errors and other service issues with the third-party providers with whom PEBP contracts. Michelle is passionate about service delivery and the importance of developing effective and accessible materials and tools to educate employees about their benefits programs, including strategies for maximizing benefits.
Michelle was appointed to the PEBP Board in September 2020.
April was appointed to the PEBP board in December 2020.
April currently serves as Chief of Information Services with the Division of Health Care Financing also known as Nevada Medicaid. She was the States Project Lead for requirements and testing of the Division’s successful Medicaid Management Information System Modernization project. Prior to working for the DHCFP she worked as a Compliance Investigator with the Division of Industrial Relations. She began her career with the State of Nevada in 1995 in Workers Compensation and brings 25 years of experience in the Healthcare Insurance industry to her new role. She received her Certificate of Public Manager (CPM) designation in April 2018.
April enjoys camping and boating with her husband, three girls, and their rescue dog named Bailey.
DR. JENNIFER MCCLENDON
Jennifer McClendon is Associate Professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. She served as Director of the Human Services Network (HSN) from 2018-2021, a collective organization of non-profits and government agencies in the human service sector across Northern Nevada. Prior to her work with HSN, Jennifer was Board Chair for Crisis Support Services of Nevada, a statewide organization providing crisis/suicide intervention and sexual assault advocacy services. As a consultant, she has worked on community-based projects in Nevada’s rural and urban areas, most recently with Nevada’s Department of Education Office of Safe and Respectful Learning to expand access to mental health care for underserved children. She has a child with a serious chronic health condition and a spouse who survived a traumatic brain injury; these experiences have led to a depth and breadth of understanding around the healthcare and disability needs for state employees.
Jennifer earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wellesley College, and has an M.S.W. and Ph.D. in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis.
Ms. Bittleston is a native Nevadan, having been born and raised in Carson City. She is a graduate of the University of Nevada Reno (BA), California State University at Dominquez Hills (MSQA), and is a veteran of the United States Army (5 years active duty). She has worked for the State of Nevada for over 22 years, all of which under the Department of Health and Human Services. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, golfing, and playing in the local Capital City Community Band.
Governor Sisolak appointed Jim Barnes to the PEBP Board in August, 2021. Jim has had a lengthy career in law and State government administration.
After graduating from Columbia University School of Law in 1972, Jim began practicing law in Reno. In 1975 he began a career in State service as Deputy Attorney General and Chief Deputy Attorney General at several State departments, including the Department of Commerce, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety. He also served as Director of the Nevada Department of Industrial Relations and as Director of the Nevada Department of Energy. Jim also served as Deputy District Attorney for Washoe County.
Jim has also served as chairman of the Nevada Deferred Compensation Committee, the Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Review Board, the Washoe County Planning Commission, and the Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Commission.
Originally from Kenosha, Wisconsin, Ms. Woodward moved to Nevada in 2001 and is currently the State Hazard Mitigation Officer at the Division of Emergency Management. She came to the Division of Emergency Management in 2012. Prior to joining state service, she spent 28 years in healthcare working with insurance, transcription, training, and direct patient care. Woodward currently manages the state’s Hazard Mitigation Program, where she has developed and managed multimillion-dollar budgets, performed benefit-cost analysis, created grant applications, as well as managing the grants for five different mitigation programs. Ms. Woodward is an active leader of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 4041.
Woodward received both a BS in Business Administration as well as AA in Management Information Systems from Liberty University. She also earned a certification as a Medical Assistant.