Column: We can get a full-time mayor for part-time salary

"Those who are elected are expected to lead. Charm school is for bureaucrats..." - Crismus Bonus, Roman centurion

Analyzing the race for mayor has been most enlightening. Although I've known Tom Tatro slightly for several years, I doubt that I've spoken with him in person more than three or four times.

I know Ray Masayko even less, having been face-to-face with him only twice. So, I've had a lot of homework to do....

One fascinating aspect of Mayor Masayko are comments from a couple of contractors and some so-called insiders saying they didn't like him very much. But upon close examination, it turned out that what they resented was Masayko's tendency to take matters into his own hands.

Upon questioning him about this, he admitted that sometimes after waiting for committee action and not getting any, yes, he would darn well take the bull by the horns.

Another negative comment about the mayor is that he votes even when he isn't required to vote; that is, committee chairpersons typically vote only to break ties. But Masayko often votes when he isn't breaking ties, even when he's on the losing end of the vote.

Well, the Carson City Charter specifically allows the mayor to vote whenever he pleases, and Masayko believes that you citizens have the right to know where he stands on all issues. It's easy to hide behind a no vote.

The issue of full-time mayor vs. part time mayor has surfaced in many discussions about this race for mayor. Our Carson City Charter only calls for a part-time mayor and it authorizes a part-time salary. This needs to be changed.

Carson City is no longer a part-time city. Our mayor must be available at all times even if it isn't necessary for him or her to be in city hall eight hours per day. There's too much at stake to assume, like in the old days, that everybody in city government likes each other, works well together, and generally has the same objectives our mayor must oversee.

For the past 16 years we've had full-time mayors on part-time salaries. How come? Because Dan Flammer, Marv Teixeira, and Ray Masayko have all been fortunate enough to have outside incomes, thus giving citizens the benefit of their full-time availability as mayors.

For us citizens this has been a windfall. Yes, sometimes it is possible to get more than you pay for when you're dealing with people who take community service seriously.

Tatro, who has served many years as a Carson City supervisor and performed the job admirably, would now have us believe that he can hold a full-time state job and be a part-time mayor and not have a conflict of time or interest.

What happens when there's a pressing city event during the day requiring the mayor's presence? Does he steal time from his state job to show up at the event or does he send someone else? How about during budget time in the Legislature when the cities are fighting the state for bigger slices of the money pie, such as last session when the Nevada Highway Patrol (in the Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety) was stealing Carson City's traffic ticket money?

Who is the mayor going to support if he works for the DMV? Do we want a mayor who has to abstain from fighting our battles because he has a conflict or interest?

Let's face it, if we can still get full-time availability from our mayor on a part-time salary, and that mayor is a proven product like Ray Masayko, and he's still willing to work full-time if necessary on a part-time salary, aren't we crazy to settle for less?

One more thing: I'm bothered by the fact that ex-mayor Teixeira and his partner, ex-city budget director Mary Walker, are actively promoting Tatro. Perhaps it's because they're old friends. They're certainly old colleagues. But I don't think Teixeira messes around with politics anymore unless he sees personal gain downstream.

Now that Teixeira and Walker are lobbyists, lobbying both the Legislature and our city, I get the uneasy feeling that both of them are confident they can influence Tatro much easier that they can Masayko.

As a matter of fact, from what I'm told by my sources, nobody controls Masayko. He's approachable but he isn't easily influenced, and that's the way it should be.

Before being elected mayor, I think Tatro should either wait until he can retire from his state job and be a full-time mayor on a part-time mayor's salary as has Masayko, or wait until the Carson City Charter is amended to approve a full-time mayor's salary.

This will surely happen soon. In the meantime, I'm supporting Masayko for re-election. All-in-all he's done a good job, as have our supervisors. Certain special interests would like a change but for us citizens, there's no reason to change.


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