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Jim Shirk: Become educated, involved in local government

Jim Shirk
For the Nevada Appeal

Editor’s note: The Nevada Appeal presented the Carson City Board of Supervisors, the mayor and city manager an opportunity for a column:

For this column I will state personal views on a few topics: education, city employees, the Carson City Sheriff’s Office, the Board of Supervisors, ending with a little insight about Jim Shirk.

Education: We need a strong university presence in our community to support student success in career development. WNC, strategically, is the sleeping giant that will help students meet the ever-changing workforce demands of our community.

City employees: Rank and file city employees work long and hard. Many of our future managers will come from this pool of talent and bring with them insight on how to improve service and reduce costs.

Sheriff’s Office: A recent ride-a-along with a sheriff’s deputy changed my perception of the department and the challenges our officers face daily. There’s a need for new equipment to meet the modern day demands of their jobs. We, the Board of Supervisors, need to proactively support our sheriff’s department.

The Board of Supervisors: Five different individuals make up the board;each with a unique view and set of priorities. At times this creates an action packed discussion over certain “hot topics.” While this position at times can be complicated by a wide range of topics, it also can be time consuming and, if done right, it can be surprisingly full of rewards. Agenda items that come before the board are not allotted enough time to study and this places a burdensome limit on both board members and citizens for meaningful analysis and input.

Because we operate under the constraint of time, I encourage citizens to review upcoming agenda items — available online — and become involved by voicing their opinion. To some degree the priorities, as viewed by the community, help to guide the board’s direction.

The board has access to statistics of measurement regarding population, education, employment and household incomes, to name a few. I wish there was a measurement for “quality of life.” One of our ultimate goals should be to improve the overall health of our community in which we serve and to help it to thrive on every level.

Our landfill needs to move toward more comprehensive recycling. Everyone must be caretakers of their community, which helps the environment. Computerizing our city system to better enable citizen access for online payment of all services, will modernize our community.

The board needs to help in the development and preservation of the decommissioned Nevada State Prison, promote the arts, aid those facing poverty, and support the elderly.

About Jim Shirk: Is it a good strategy to stand up and do what is right, even when it’s unpopular, perhaps not. The reality is, as Mark Twain once said: “Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”

It is always more efficient to voice one’s opinion while the topic is being discussed than to try and rectify a decided action after the fact. Therefore, I routinely deliver an honest and tactful opinion as to how and why I vote on issues prior to the vote being taken. And I always welcome feedback about my evaluation and stance on an agenda item.

I’m both thankful and grateful to numerous citizens who contact me; my close friends who are always there for me, my daughter, Gianna, who is constantly available offering support or an opinion, should I ask; to my wife Michele, who is very active and outspoken about her political views and preferences. To her credit she remains silent about local politics. She stands with me in good times, and more importantly in rough times. To all of the above, I am truly blessed and one hell of a lucky man.

A board member works for their constituents. I have learned from my mistakes and criticisms received. I respect the views and opinions of my fellow board members. But, as Theodore Roosevelt said: “The most successful politician is he who says what the people are thinking most often in the loudest voice.”

Ward 4 Supervisor Jim Shirk can be reached at jshirk@carson.org or at (775) 720-5761.