Decision should be on merits

It must be frustrating for sheriff's deputies and firefighters to wait and wait for a new dispatching system, then see the process stall when it gets to the Carson City Board of Supervisors.

However, they must remember that spending taxpayers' money is the supervisors' decision to make. The supervisors wouldn't be doing the job to which they were elected if they didn't ask the hard questions, look for the best alternatives and make sure their ultimate decision is one they'll feel comfortable supporting for their constituents. Otherwise, we might as well let consultants make all our decisions.

That's why an advertisement, reported in Tuesday's Nevada Appeal and appearing in today's editions, seems a bit heavy-handed.

There is no doubt the need for a state-of-the-art emergency communications system is an important concern to safety personnel, as well as to the public served by them.

The debate is which system - Tiburon or HTE - is the most cost-effective. There seems to be no question that safety personnel prefer Tiburon, which would cost $1.4 million, compared with HTE, which would cost $775,000. Tiburon would do more, including an integrated records management system sorely needed by the departments.

But the budget for the new system is $932,000. Therein lies the dilemma.

In their advertisement, the city's employee associations berate Mayor Ray Masayko for "arrogance" and "lack of concern" for existing problems facing 911 dispatchers. It follows with a "no confidence" vote in the mayor.

The associations' main complaint seems to be that they were disrespected by Masayko during a meeting, and certainly the city's employees should be heard on such a crucial issue. But we think Masayko is concerned about 911 dispatchers. We think he also is concerned about spending taxpayer funds and making sure supervisors come to the best decision.

This clearly is an attempt by employee associations to influence the decision of an elected official through political pressure.

While we respect the employees' right to express their opinion on any issue they please - and especially on ones that affect them directly - we must say that political considerations are probably the wrong means to make a decision on a 911 dispatching system.

City supervisors should decide on the merits of the systems and the financial realities of city government. Nothing else.


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