New city manager focusing on one-year plan
May 4, 2014
City Manager-designate Nick Marano intends to hit the ground running with a 60-day learning curve dash and a yearlong plan of action for Carson City.
Marano, a retired Marine Corps colonel who has been a management consultant since 2012, will begin in a month or sooner after contract negotiations pan out, which is expected. The Board of Supervisors selected him unanimously over four other finalists Friday, setting in motion a new era for Nevada's capital city. Salary range negotiations are from $140,000 to $180,000.
During his interview, Marano outlined his first-year plan in three pages.
"My focus in executing the policies determined by the Board of Supervisors will always be how best to advance the interests of the community," wrote the man who will head city staff and executive action. "Numbers on a spreadsheet are important, but the impact of decisions on people is critical, and I'll never lose sight of that."
The man who was commander from 2009-12 of Camp Pendleton, a Marine Corps base in Southern California, already has shown those who observed his time in Carson City that he means it when he talks of running and the ground. Several residents have observed his ritual runs to keep fit, and have heard him talk of assessing staff or community needs and concerns by getting out of offices to determine what he calls "ground truth."
In his first 60 days, Marano said in his three-page plan provided the board Friday, he will conduct an in-depth assessment of the effectiveness and efficiency with which city services are provided. He said the focus will be learning what the city does well and what it can do better, which will be followed by a report to the board on his assessment and recommendations for action.
Among the tasks he hopes to accomplish are:
Reviewing budgets and examining in detail financial reports and audits to identify problem areas; "a deep dive on the organization" to determine how things work; reviewing strategic plans, among them those for the one-eighth-of-a-penny city sales-tax increase to fund capital improvement projects, as well as others for redevelopment; and reviewing city code and state statutes, as well as internal controls and training programs. Additional aspects will deal with building trust.
"I intend to empower the department directors and hold them accountable for the performance of their departments," he wrote, "especially in budget execution."
His subsequent first-year objectives he summarized as efforts at "making a great community better." He said he will focus on projects that are innovative and transformative, but stressed those will key on the community's interests and yet keep an eye on enhancing the city's bottom line. He added that there is rarely one big thing that can turn things around.
"I am content to hit a lot of singles; the savings will add up and we will hedge our risk if one or two initiatives don't turn out as planned," he said.
Among those first-year goals are refining and finalizing the one-eighth-of-a-penny sales tax expenditure plans; tackling the "absolutely vital" need to obtain customer feedback by using new media interactions and other methods; achieving "continuous process improvement" using audit recommendations and Lean Six Sigma techniques through a Business Performance Office person to minimize costs and stay efficient; and doing a comprehensive energy-use-reduction plan.
Among his new media outreach efforts would be a city home page Contact Carson City section enabling residents to notify city government of problems and spur resolution. He said Carson City is big enough to offer "all the services the community needs while small enough to be responsive to the community."