Bill would curb supervisors’ power over review board

The Senate Government Affairs Commission was urged Monday to pass a bill reducing the Board of Supervisors’ control over the Carson City Charter Review Commission.

AB312 by Assemblyman Pete Livermore, R-Carson City, would provide for direct appointments to the commission instead of “nominations” by board members and Carson City’s legislative representatives.

“I don’t get to pick and choose their members,” he said. “I don’t think they should get to choose my members.”

The bill also would allow the review commission to go around the supervisors and find a legislator to bring their proposed changes to the city charter if the supervisors refused. Right now, the commission’s recommendations are reviewed by the Board of Supervisors, which can refuse to adopt them or put them before lawmakers.

Carson City activist Ande Engleman and charter commission chairwoman Donna DePauw both testified that far too often in the past 20 years, the supervisors have refused to put the commission’s recommendations into the biennial charter amendment bill.

“We have struggled tremendously with getting issues through the Board of Supervisors,” DePauw said.

Engleman said the best example is the question of whether supervisors should be elected at large or by voters in their wards. That question was put to the voters in 1992 and ended up in a rare tie. She said there was no recount of that vote and that the supervisors have repeatedly refused to put the question back on the ballot.

They agreed to do so last year, and the issue will be on the next general election ballot.

Neither Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell nor City Manager Larry Werner was available to testify Monday. But city lobbyist Mary Walker said not only the Board of Supervisors but a majority of the charter commission itself opposes AB312.

She also pointed out that most of DePauw’s agenda for charter amendments was opposed last year by a majority of that commission.

DePauw said she was referring to the past 20 years of commission recommendations being ignored by the board, not this past year’s recommendations.


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