Residents' panel suggested to oversee deputies

Carson City's charter review committee is suggesting city leaders appoint a group of residents to oversee the Carson City Sheriff's Department.

Carson City resident Monte Fast approached the committee, which convenes every two years to suggest changes to the city's operational charter, and suggested eliminating the sheriff and allowing city supervisors to appoint a police chief.

However, sheriff is an elected position listed in the state's constitution and beyond the limits of charter changes. After listening to Fast's testimony, though, charter review members opted to ask city supervisors for a committee which could review management decisions at the sheriff's department.

Charter Review Committee Chairwoman Shelly Aldean said she thought Fast's concerns "could easily be remedied in the next election," but agreed that "it would be nice to have review by the public."

"The more scrutiny for a public office, the better," she said.

Fast said he spent four months as the foreman of a grand jury discussing "stuff I can't tell you."

"All I can tell you is I came out of that feeling that I'm not served by the current system," Fast said. "Should there be (a sheriff) or should there be a chief of police who the mayor can get mad at and fire? The mayor can get mad at the sheriff, but he can't do anything about it.

"I think that the selection process and job definition that we expect from our top law enforcement officer are not serving us well."

Members agreed Tuesday not to pursue creation of the committee under a state law that allows a panel of law enforcement-trained people to serve on an overview committee. However, charter panel members want city supervisors to create an advisory committee that is responsible to the people.

"The whole idea is we want outside, fresh points of view to come out and say, 'Why are you doing this?'" member Dave Cook said.

The charter review committee will meet July 18 to review the suggestion of a sheriff overview committee. Then it will meet with the Board of Supervisors on Aug. 1 to present suggested charter changes.

Other recommendations include:

-- Requiring all elected officials and people appointed to city committees to take a class in conflicts of interest and the Nevada open-meeting law.

-- Requiring supervisors to meet once a year with the charter review committee.

-- Creating a vice-chairman for the charter review committee.

-- Allowing the charter review committee to suggest changes to state and city law instead of simply suggesting changes to the city's charter.


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