Charter Review sidesteps ward voting plan for now

Charter Review Committee members sidestepped a plan for ward voting only for electing Carson City supervisors, some fearing it could confuse voters to have different proposals undergo public scrutiny together.

Committee Chairman Rob Joiner after a Tuesday evening meeting said that avoiding action didn’t mean the issue was dead, just delayed. He favors ward voting in both primaries and general elections for supervisors, but a ballot question already set for the Nov. 4 election favors another method. It favors ward voting in primaries but at-large voting citywide to choose between the two candidates nominated in each ward in those primaries.

Currently, supervisors must live in the ward represented, but are chosen at-large and citywide by voters both in the primary and general elections.

Taking no action on parallel track recommendations, according to Joiner, “speaks volumes” about avoiding confusion but didn’t mean he or other advocates of the ward-only plan had given up. Committee members on the other side were vocal during the meeting.

Both Larry Messina and Bruce Robertson said they prefer all five members on the Board of Supervisors represent them and take decisions in the best interests of the whole community. As Messina put it, he doesn’t want just the mayor and the supervisor from his ward representing him.

Michael Matuska addressed the confusion issue directly when he spoke on the ballot question and the new proposal brought to the panel by John Vettel.

“I think we have a lot of moving parts right now,” he said. “I find it to be confusing.”

The committee also sidestepped action, sometimes because members felt no city charter issue was involved, on other plans advanced by Maurice White and city Supervisor Jim Shirk. White’s proposal calls for considering district voting in primaries and at-large election for members of the Carson City School Board of Trustees.

Shirk’s three proposals would: require that mail addressed to the Board of Supervisors reach individual supervisors; require that changes be made to city mayoral election timing to deal with a matter he calls unfair to ward 2 and 4 supervisors; and require that minutes of board meeting action on ordinances be printed after first reading and before action is taken on final adoption.


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