Carson City fraud hotline program approved |

Carson City fraud hotline program approved

John Barrette

Up to $34,000 for a fraud hotline program and $1 million for preliminary sewage-treatment plant repairs won approval Thursday from Carson City’s Board of Supervisors.

The board voted 4-1, with Supervisor John McKenna dissenting, to proceed with a city Audit Committee and consultant recommendation to have a fraud, waste and abuse program relying on a whistleblower hotline, and follow up to determine whether tips can ferret out problems and save city government money.

Supervisor Karen Abowd moved to accept the report from the audit panel and consultant Moss Adams LLC. The program would establish a hotline operating constantly and provide for follow-up investigation of tips that prove to have merit.

Estimates suggested there would only be a few calls monthly, but Supervisor Jim Shirk said it could prove beneficial if city efficiencies or savings result.

“I think at this juncture — where we’re at — we could gain from this,” Shirk said.

He made that comment in the aftermath of Public Works Director Andy Burnham questioning whether $30,000 for a couple of calls monthly would provide the city bang for its buck.

Bill Prowse of the audit panel told supervisors estimates suggest that 5 percent of funds are at risk of waste, fraud or abuse.

The board also accepted a study from Moss Adams of the city’s fleet management; it recommended changes that the consultant said would save $173,744. However, the savings would come only after changes that include hiring people, costing $274,226 to promote efficient operations.

City Manager Larry Werner said he was uncertain the savings would materialize for all of city government because fleet personnel handle unrelated work that would have to be picked up elsewhere, such as fabrication. The motion of acceptance authorized city staff to analyze impact and return to the board.

Approval of $1,010,332 for wastewater-reclamation plant digester rehabilitation was actually done by board action accepting the low bid of Geney/Gassiot Inc. to do the work. It will replace the dome of a 25-year-old unit at the sewage-treatment plant. There were just two bidders.

“We have no choice but to go forward with this,” Burnham said.

David Bruketta, utilities manager, was asked if this is separate from the $48 million plant and sewage line system upgrades planned later. He said it is because it was bumped forward due to problems.

“It is strictly just a dome replacement,” he said.

The board approved a $1 million contract with Marathon Staffing, which has a Carson City office, for Carson City government temporary staffing services. Marathon was one of 10 firms seeking the pact. Four were interviewed.

The board also authorized spending $225,000 from open-space funds to purchase 22.35 acres of open land just west of Terrace Street and south of Kings Canyon Road.