Carson City staff called lean; manager ‘leaning forward’

City government staff efficiency ideas and a liquor license for Sassafras management provided bookends for Thursday’s Carson City Board of Supervisors meeting.

Among issues considered between them were two on radically different project prospects in Carson City’s rural west and southwest regions, but it was the efficiency study and immediate action on one study recommendation that were the late cap to the day’s work.

Mark Steranka of Moss Adams LLP, city internal audit consultant, called staff lean and offered efficiency and effectiveness recommendations. They include specific ideas for the city manager, information technology and the library, as well as an overview for a small consolidated city handling both city and county functions.

Ideas for change included establishing a small administrative pool of talent in the city manager’s office, among them someone for business development, public information and administrative help for various departments so top staff in those units can be freed for their “highest and best use” in handling workload.

Carson City’s Library was viewed in some ways as top heavy, with a span of control below the director of one-to-two or one-to-four, although the director’s span is one-to-seven and in line with industry standards. Director Sena Loyd said the Library Board of Trustees would consider what to do about the suggestions.

The overall city span of control was pegged at one to 3.8, which Steranka called “understandable” due to the city/county workload.

City Manager Nick Marano, as the board accepted the report and called for reports on implementation over time, told the board he already was “leaning forward into this” on some aspects.

Information technology also was mentioned for change, which immediately began after Steranka’s report. The board voted approval of making two higher level vacancies into three technician posts.

Board members opened the morning’s meeting by becoming the Liquor and Entertainment Board, which adds Sheriff Ken Furlong to their ranks, then unanimously approved Anthony Fish as liquor manager for Sassafras, LLC at 1500 Old Hot Springs Road. The former downtown restaurant is relocating to the Carson Hot Springs Resort there. Fish and his wife intend to reopen in two or three weeks, he said.

Among the in-between items was a memorandum of agreement involving city government and the Tahoe Transportation District, as lead agency, on planned improvements over time along State Route 28 on the east side of Lake Tahoe from Incline Village to Spooner Junction through rural Carson City. The $24 million project involving Washoe and Douglas counties, as well as the city, begins with three parking lots and a bike trail.

Ann Bollinger, Carson’s Open Space manager, and Derek Kirkland, Tahoe Transportation District, explained the memorandum and said there’s no Carson City cost at present. The Federal Land Access Program is providing $12.5 million.

The other project idea came in the form of a city staff proposal to alter the master plan and rezone about 60 acres to upgrade it for possible five-acre lots, though the underlying idea was to establish a trail head and trail on and beyond the acreage near U.S. Highway 50, Tahoe Golf Course Drive and Old Clear Creek Road. The board balked, turning down the master plan amendment 3-2.

Supervisor Brad Bonkowski spearheaded denial, joined by Supervisors John McKenna and Jim Shirk. Bonkowski said it would enhance the value of the state-owned land, now designated public/quasi-public, to help the state sell it for more money. The rejection came despite testimony from Juan Guzman, former city open space manager, that trails advocates stand ready to raise and spend a higher amount to get the plan moving.


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