Carson City Board of Supervisors praise City Manager Nick Marano

Carson City Manager Nick Marano said a big goal in the coming year is to move the city closer to performance-based budgeting.

The Board of Supervisors suggested a few more goals for Marano to investigate and bring back to the board for further discussion, but mostly the supervisors showered him with accolades during his annual performance review Thursday.

Marano, who was hired by the city in May 2014, didn’t ask for a pay raise and a motion by Supervisor Jim Shirk to give him a $6,782 bump in salary failed when no one seconded it.

“He deserves it,” said Supervisor Karen Abowd. “But I appreciate him not wanting to take it.”

“Thanks for being a team player,” said Supervisor Brad Bonkowski.

During his presentation to the board, Marano outlined some of the city’s successes in the last year to provide more transparency and build up trust with citizens.

He talked about Carson Connect, the online application for reporting problems such as potholes, as well as Open Budget and Open Expenditures, two features launched on the city web site that let people see how taxpayer money is spent.

He cited a survey of Carson Connect users, 147 of whom responded, that showed about 80 percent or more thought employee effectiveness, time to respond and employee courtesy were superior, and their expectations for service were exceeded.

A citizens panel to help the city prioritize street maintenance projects is in the works, said Marano, and redesign of the city’s web site, launched Wednesday, includes a new section collecting performance metrics that should help the city move to performance-based budgeting.

“We’re building the plane as we’re flying it and this is the dashboard,” said Marano.

He said performance-based budgeting, which allocates resources based on objectives and measurable outcomes, is better than zero-based budgeting, which requires budgets be assembled form scratch each year.

Marano said in his experience with the U.S. Department of Defense, zero-based budgeting didn’t work.

“In practice, what happened is we reversed engineered the budget. The departments would know what numbers they wanted to hit and would reverse engineer it,” he said. “In theory, it’s a great idea.”

After Marano’s presentation, each supervisor heaped praise on him.

“Your great communication skills, good judgment, dedication and organizational skills have helped the city tremendously,” said Shirk.

“Continue exactly what you’re doing and you’re going to change the face of how we govern and how we do business,” said Bonkowski.

In other personnel matters, the board approved a new full-time landfill worker position and reclassified a GIS specialist position to an asset manager in preparation for developing a database of the city’s assets.

The human resources department also negotiated a zero percent increase in the city’s employee and retiree health and dental insurance plan from Prominence Health Plan.

The carrier requested a 4 percent increase and the department negotiated it down, saving the city $245,000.


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