Supervisors OK internal audits on city fleet, waste, fraud and abuse
March 8, 2013
Internal audit studies on city government fleet efficiency and ways to combat waste, fraud and abuse won unanimous approval Thursday from Carson City’s Board of Supervisors.During a lengthy discussion before the vote, however, unanimity at first appeared elusive on the two studies costing $45,000.Supervisor Jim Shirk sought assurances city savings would result. He said he wanted government run like a business.He also indicated he wasn’t seeing results in the aftermath of a previous audit on Eagle Valley golf complex, which is city-owned but leased to an operator. His view, however, was immediately challenged.“We’re struggling to take responsibility,” said Supervisor Brad Bonkowski, noting outcomes after previous or future studies are the province of the board and city staff, following board policy. City Manager Larry Werner interjected his agreement with Bonkowski moments later. “The first step, as Supervisor Bonkowski said, is you’ve got to tell us what to do,” Werner said.Mayor Robert Crowell said he wasn’t interested in prejudicing any study before it was done by signaling a desire for a particular outcome, though he didn’t argue with striving for city savings. The other two supervisors weighed in with other questions and observations. Supervisor John McKenna asked if looking into running a large city government, which is more complex than an 80-employee manufacturer or business, would be better.And Karen Abowd said city department heads understand their vehicular fleets. She wondered if that audit would be redundant.Audit Committee Chairman Michael Bertrand and Mark Steranka of Moss Adams LLP, the audit firm that handled the golf study and would do the pair under consideration joined in the dialogue.Steranka assured Shirk that Moss Adams could follow up on studies, but squeezing out savings based on recommendations was up to the board and city staff. Steranka also told McKenna his idea was important, but didn’t exclude the fleet and waste studies. And he assured Abowd fleet efficiency could be beneficial. Steranka and Bertrand indicated fleet studies can provide up to 20 percent efficiencies generally, as well as performance measures plus related outcomes. Bertrand said those were the long term goals.In the end, Shirk voted with the others and said he looked forward to achieving savings if possible, though he also asked that recommendations be clear rather than overly general. The fleet study will cost $25,000. The two phases of the other study, costing $10,000 a piece — would set the stage for and possibly implement a waste, fraud and abuse hotline to help serve as a city government watchdog. In other action, the board took final action allowing an extension of three years for the start of a Planned Unit Development called Ross Park. It would put 23 homes on land bounded by Snyder Avenue, California Street and East Appion Way. The board voted to dissolve the Sierra Forest Fire Protection District, which covered parts of the western and northern sectors of urban Carson City as well as rural city land to the west. Supervisors supported a plan to have city government lobby for Senate Bill 171, which if enacted by the Nevada Legislature could provide the city with $6.5 million for transportation needs, other public works projects and the city school system.In addition, they adopted a policy in which City Manager Werner can lobby the Legislature on operational matters but consult with board members about what is operational or policy. Policy matters would require board direction.