City unions mad at mayor | NevadaAppeal.com

City unions mad at mayor

JIM SCRIPPS

Five Carson City employee unions are putting pressure on Mayor Ray Masayko this week by declaring a vote of “no confidence” in full-page advertisements scheduled to appear Wednesday and Thursday in the Nevada Appeal.

The unions, including the Carson City Employees Union, have banded together to blast the mayor for what they say is an overly tentative approach toward approval of a new emergency dispatch computer system.

“Based on Mayor Masayko’s attitude and behavior, concerning the Public Safety Communication Center’s Computer Aided Dispatch issues, we must express both our lack of confidence in and our vote of ‘no confidence’ on Mayor Masayko,” reads a letter addressed to taxpayers.

Also endorsing the advertisements are the four major unions representing firefighters, fire supervisors, sheriff’s deputies and sheriff’s supervisors.

At the heart of the unions’ discontent are rumors that the mayor and city officials have renewed the search for a system and are now considering contracting with Reno’s dispatch system.

City Supervisor Robin Williamson said the possibility of relying solely on Reno dispatch is not on the table. However, she said City Manager John Berkich has been looking at the possibility of sharing services.

“If it could meet our needs, then perhaps we could lease the functionalities, but keep the center in Carson,” she said. “We would pay for the portion of the system that we use.

“I would hope no one would lose their jobs.”

Berkich said he has had limited contact with Reno officials and plans to look further into the issue.

Responding to the “no confidence” vote, Masayko said the debate surrounding the new communications system has caused a communication breakdown.

“I haven’t made any decisions yet,” he said. “I’ve been accused many times of making up my mind. I’ve got no preference between Tiburon, HTE or XYZ.”

Tiburon and HTE are the two computer systems being considered for installation in the new $600,000 dispatch center. Tiburon would cost the city $1.4 million after hardware upgrades, while an HTE system would cost $775,000.

“But we have to remember that every dollar you spend on this system is a dollar that could go towards other city services,” Masayko said. “It all has to come from the general fund.”

Roughly $932,000 has been budgeted for the upgrade.

Masayko said that after reviewing the costs, the city decided to reconsider the options.

“Does it make sense to at least consider working with Reno? I think it does,” he said.

Meanwhile, law enforcement officials say that after 32 months of research, they are tired of waiting for the supervisors to make up their minds while public safety is at risk.

In the planned advertisement, the five city unions wrote: “We, both as residents and employees of Carson City, need a computer dispatching system in place that will rapidly process our public safety needs when a call for help is placed.”

At the Dec. 16 supervisors meeting, law enforcement officials recommended the Tiburon system, saying it offers features not available with HTE. At the time, supervisors said a decision would be made at the Jan. 6 meeting.

With the latest developments, Williamson said the decision will be pushed back.

A new committee headed by District Attorney Noel Waters met last week to start the renewed search. Many law enforcement officers opted not to participate in the new committee, which is composed mostly of city officials.