Carson Perspective: Tempers flare between city manager, supervisor

Everybody is talking about a dust-up nobody involved wants to talk about.

Carson City was and is abuzz over a verbal outburst involving City Manager Larry Werner and Supervisor Jim Shirk that neither will address publicly now.

Picture two boxers toe to toe trading punches, then clinching for a short waltz around the ring until a bell sends them to their respective corners.

According to observers, they went at it during a recess at the most recent Board of Supervisors meeting. The clash came soon after the board took up a contract to continue operation of the municipal golf course complex at Eagle Valley.

Reports indicate Werner wanted to jettison Shirk from City Hall over Shirk’s comments about staff work on the Eagle Valley issue and the hiring of a deputy city manager, as well as Shirk’s vow to say whatever he pleased in meetings.

“I’d really like to not comment on that,” Werner said later. Shirk had much the same reaction when asked if he would comment.

“At the moment, no,” Shirk said. “I’d just prefer not to make any statement. I’ve never been in this position before.”

Public-access TV shows Shirk saying after the recess that he felt threatened and wanted to discuss what had happened, and Werner saying it wasn’t on the agenda so discussion would violate law.

The tape also shows Werner retracting his recess comment, plus a flap between Shirk and a citizen wanting to testify on another matter. It apparently stemmed from comments involving that citizen and another in the audience.

Werner is shown on the video suggesting to put a discussion of the Shirk-Werner issue on the next agenda. He didn’t; word is he and Shirk smoothed things over. But will it be dance or donnybrook in a later round?

Thursday’s agenda includes the next steps in the Eagle Valley matter, including appointment of a supervisor to the board of the nonprofit organization that operates the golf course complex for the city.

Also on the agenda for the meeting, which is in the Sierra Room of the Community Center beginning at 8:30 a.m., are issues on law enforcement officers in schools and various Health & Human Services matters, among them fees and codes governing animal services.

On another city matter, Recreation Manager Joel Dunn’s enthusiasm for his sports-tourism tournament program is commendable if a bit outsized.

“It has turned into, absolutely, the largest economic engine in the community,” he said last week, issuing a report showing nearly $21 million in 2012 local economic impact.

The largest engine comment is unprovable on its face; unlikely during years, such as 2013, when Nevada’s Legislature meets here for months; and unimaginable, because the term “absolutely” takes for granted jobs in government, health care and manufacturing, which are economic engines providing underpinning year-round.

John Barrette covers Carson City government and business. He can be reached at


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