Carson City mayoral candidates Tom Tatro and incumbent Ray Masayko, squaring off before potential voters Tuesday, again sniped at each other about the time it takes to be mayor.
Masayko, 55, listed his packed Tuesday schedules for members of the Carson City Rotary International Club, saying he was out "talking about the issues and service items that are more important than cutting ribbons and slapping backs.
"Being mayor is my job," Masayko said. "It's my only job. I think this community has expectations. I believe in open access. I need to be available. Not every day is this intense, but I serve Carson City. I've participated and made sure Carson City's interests are represented. That's what I do."
However, one attendee of the Rotary luncheon said he was tired of only hearing about the time it takes to be mayor. John Anderson, owner of John Anderson Construction, said he had supported Masayko in his 1996 run for mayor and Tatro in his last run for supervisor. Anderson challenged the two candidates to focus on real issues, not time issues.
"From a person who looks at two solid candidates, I want to know more what your leadership qualities and vision are," Anderson said.
Masayko countered that he doesn't focus on time, just on what he's accomplished as mayor.
"I think I focus on the issues," he said. "A complete picture is what you get with me."
Both mayoral candidates agreed that issue of Carson-Tahoe Hospital affiliation needs to be closely monitored. Hospital officials are considering three bids from private firms to take over part or all of the operation.
"This is the most important decision we will make," Tatro said. "We need to be so completely cautious with this. We need to understand what is in those proposals. It's such a huge decision and has so many implications the public involvement needs to be maximized."
Tatro, 43, said there are three roles the mayor fills. Tatro joked that the city's charter gives the mayor military powers. Not having much of a need to declare martial law, Tatro said the second duty of mayor was most important.
"The mayor serves as a member of the Board of Supervisors," Tatro said. "The mayor is chairman of the board. This is the most important duty by far. That's where the decisions are made. That's where the city's business is done."
Tatro said he prefers the work in the "boardroom" to ceremonial mayoral duties.
"I have a little experience with that, but it's not my strong suit," he said. "While those things are important, they are not what are the core of being mayor. When you hire someone, you want to hire someone who has the core qualities."
Tatro's core qualities he quoted from a 1998 resolution commending his nine years of service on the board of supervisors.
"A resolution passed commending me said ethical, hardworking, effective and compassionate. I can't think of four better words to describe me," Tatro said. "I'm proud of what I've accomplished."
Tatro, fiscal manager for the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, challenged those who question his inability to serve as mayor while holding down a full-time job.
"I have more time now than I've ever had in my life," Tatro said. "Those (core qualities) haven't changed. I served effectively for nine years. If I could serve effectively with two children, I can serve again."
Noting his nearly life-long residency in Carson City, Tatro said he feels "completely a part of this town.
"I am a product of what this city has to offer," he said.
Tatro said the 1990s were Carson City's most progressive years, and said in 10 years he would like to see Carson City have many of the same amenities, like open space, it now has. He also wants to see more business opportunities.
"I want my kids to move back here," he said. "I want to see more companies come here because this is a beautiful place to live. Businesses are smart. The quality of life is something we need to sell."
Masayko agreed that diverse business is an important part of Carson City's future.
"I want us to be the Silicon Valley of the inland area," Masayko said. "We can be a model community. We're not too far from that as it is, and we're going to get there if we focus. There are lots of challenges and opportunities ahead. I will continue to be the biggest darn booster for Carson City whenever I can, where I can."