Dispatch fight heats up, heads back to supes Thursday

A simmering dispute over a computer dispatch system isn't likely to cool down at Thursday's Board of Supervisors meeting.

One reason: City dispatch personnel passed out fliers Tuesday asking Carson City residents to pack the meeting to show support for a new dispatch system.

A second reason: Supervisors probably won't make a decision Thursday.

In dispute is which system to purchase - a Tiburon system for $1.4 million, or an HTE system for about $775,000.

Deputies, firefighters and dispatchers favor the Tiburon system, saying it is far superior. But city supervisors have asked staff to keep studying the issue, although a city software team has been evaluating HTE and Tiburon for two years.

The budget for a new system is roughly $932,000.

Supervisors asked that an updated HTE system be considered before a decision is made. District Attorney Noel Waters was asked to head a committee to examine the new system and compare new data with that gathered on the Tiburon and older HTE system.

Waters said his primary interest in the process is to calm some of the friction the decision has caused as well as help find the best system for Carson City.

"I'd like to see a little less rhetoric and a little more cooperation," Waters said. "We need to put principles over personalities. There are a lot of things we'd really like to have, but if the price is extremely high it's still a matter of what we can afford.

"But If you don't have basic user acceptance and support, and you've got downright hostility towards a product, you're doomed from the get-go. If the HTE system isn't short of miraculous we're spinning our wheels. Our choices will come down to what we're willing to pay."

Waters said visits to see HTE as well as Tiburon systems are planned for the next few weeks. City Manager John Berkich said he doesn't expect supervisors to make a decision until Feb. 3.

To complicate the matter further, Berkich said the city is scheduling discussions with Reno on a regional dispatch system. Reno and Washoe County are in the middle of transforming their dispatch system to the Tiburon system. Berkich said a regional system may save the city some money, but the effort is very preliminary.

Meanwhile, five city employee unions are blasting Mayor Ray Masayko for disrespecting employees in last month's meeting. A full-page ad on page A9 of today's Nevada Appeal lists their complaints.

Vincent Pirozzi, president of the Carson City Fire Department Classified Chief Officer's Association, said the issue issn't which computer system should be chosen, but rather that employees felt ignored by the mayor at December's meeting.

"What did we spend 32 months working on just to have him tell us to go to hell?" Pirozzi asked. "I agree wholeheartedly cost is the bottom line. But they weren't interested in what our opinions are or what the committee came up with. That's what the whole thing is all about."

Masayko said board members have not made up their minds regarding the system. December's action was made by a majority of supervisors, not him alone, he said.

"It's unfortunate that they would retaliate against me for trying to align their interests with the public interest," Masayko said. "In my view their priorities are way out of order. They're looking at what system they want to have and not balancing it with the public interest. I'm not going to wage a war of words with those folks. We have an honest difference of opinion. If they choose to retaliate against me for doing the job I was elected to do, then I think the residents of Carson City can decide for themselves what the motives are."

If you go:

What: Carson City Board of Supervisors meeting

When: Thursday, after 1:30 p.m.

Where: the Community Center's Sierra Room, 851 E. William St.


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