Carson City Board of Supervisors organize; Shirk bids ignored

One supervisor got nowhere in seeking committee assignments Monday at Carson City’s Board of Supervisors, while another board member rewrote city legislative policy.

Supervisor Jim Shirk lost every bid he made for city committee, board of commission membership roles, though he might have had a chance for one to which he was nominated but declined or another for which he nominated himself but later withdrew.

In the latter case, he nominated himself for a seat on the Redevelopment Authority Citizens Committee (RACC) but then withdrew when Supervisor Brad Bonkowski nominated the newest board member, Supervisor Lori Bagwell.

Bonkowski said he did so in the board’s organizational session because Bagwell had experience on that panel, having just served as RACC chairperson. Bonkowski later nominated Shirk for service on the Municipal Golf Course board as representative for the city’s governing board, but Shirk declined. Bagwell ended up in that post, too.

“Shameful,” charged Shirk in the aftermath of the board’s organizational meeting, criticizing colleagues for managing “to put me in isolation.”

Carol Howell, a resident of Ward 4 from which Shirk hails, took a similar tack in testimony after the organizational voting. “Jim wasn’t assigned to one of them” said Howell, calling it “embarrassing” with the appearance the system was tainted.

No member spoke during the meeting in response to those protests, but afterward Bonkowski said his nominations were made or votes were cast based on qualifications and backgrounds of those involved. He also made the point that Shirk two years earlier took only one committee, board or commission assignment and later quit it. Shirk took Carson City’s spot on the Nevada Association of Counties but quit due to a conflict, citing work and family reasons.

Bagwell, meanwhile, managed to at least partially resolve a knotty issue regarding city government lobbying at the Legislature in the 2015 session, which starts next month.

A resolution calling for a city testimony to conform to the board’s majority position, barring conveyance of the minority side except by a supervisor speaking as a citizen, prompted opposition from several residents and Shirk. No one testified for the policy resolution, and among those criticizing it was Maurice White, an Airport Authority member, who said, “that should tell you something.”

Bagwell suggested removing two paragraphs on lobbying. The first would have barred board members, the city manager or the city’s contract lobbyist from conveying a minority board position to the Legislature, while the second said a minority view could be stated if the board member expressly says it is his or her personal and individual opinion, but not consistent with the city’s position.

Bagwell said the “shall not” language seemed the offending provision. She first tried to soften it, then excised it and that suggestion prevailed, 4-1, with Shirk dissenting.

Among other organizational decisions, Supervisor Karen Abowd retained her posts as mayor pro tem of the board and chairperson of the Redevelopment Authority, which has the same governing board membership but different leadership.

In another controversy, Lisa Helget and Chris Carver challenged the board over Bagwell’s nomination of Mallory Wilson to serve on the city’s Board of Equalization. Helget, who ran against Abowd last year in Ward 1, and Carver, a photographer who has testified before on other issues, said Wilson is inexperienced, unqualified and poses a possible conflict of interest problem.

The board was asked to consult District Attorney Jason Woodbury, but instead it voted to approve Bagwell’s choice.

“She’s legally qualified,” Woodbury told the Nevada Appeal after the board approved Wilson, the daughter of Bonkowski’s partner both in life and at their NAI Alliance commercial real estate office. Board approval was 4-0 with Bonkowski abstaining and acknowledging he wasn’t voting due to the familial tie. The board also approved Jed Block to chair the Board of Equalization and Bonnie Vivant to serve on it.

In other action, the board voted unanimously to designate 100 acres near Flint Drive, Rifle Range Road and U.S. 50 East for a disc golf course complex. Parks Planner Vern Krahn said city government is working with disc golf advocates and the project won’t cost much, while it could bring such enthusiasts for tournaments and spur economic activity.


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