City Council Chambers, Legislative Bldg, 745 Fourth St., Sparks
General Business: 9.5
In November 2013, the City Council directed staff to work on a set of property conservation amendments to the Sparks Municipal Code to address some of the most common complaints the city currently receives but lacked sufficient authority in the code to effectively mitigate (e.g., inoperable vehicles in front and side yards, dirt front yards, boarded windows). The City Council also directed staff to bring forward proposed changes to the Municipal Code to grant code enforcement officers the ability to issue civil citations to those failing to correct violations and, equally important, to provide a process to appeal violation notices, citations, fines and fees.
In August of 2014 the City Council adopted changes Chapter 7.16 (Nuisances), including the addition of a “Property Preservation” section, and to Chapter 20.35 (Recreational Vehicle Storage) of the Sparks Municipal Code. In January, 2015, the City Council adopted Ordinance 2507 amending Chapter 2 of the Sparks Municipal Code to provide code enforcement officers and other appropriate city officials (e.g., police officers, building official, city manager) the authority to issue and record notices of violation, issue civil citations and fines, and, if the violation is not corrected, lien properties. The ordinance established minimum requirements for administrative enforcement and adjudication procedures and provides for an administrative hearing and appeal process. The administrative hearing process is intended to provide persons who are subject to code enforcement actions a fair and non-judicial process to contest the city’s code enforcement decisions.
City staff subsequently issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) soliciting persons to serve as contract Administrative Hearing Officer.
Three persons submitted responses to the city’s Administrative Hearing Officer RFP: Robert Bell, John Marshall and Jill Greiner. The responses were reviewed by a staff committee, including a representative of the City Attorney’s office. The committee recommended two of these individuals to fill the roles of primary and backup hearing officers. These individuals are neither employed nor affiliated with the City of Sparks, and will serve as mediators between City staff and residents engaged in code enforcement proceedings.
Both Mr. Marshall and Mr. Bell are attorneys experienced in public and private practice. Both are admitted to practice law by the Nevada State Bar and have practiced most of their careers in the Northern Nevada region. Mr. Bell currently serves as an administrative hearing officer for the City of Reno.
The proposed contracts with Mr. Marshall and Mr. Bell would extend through June 30, 2016 with the option to renew for up to two additional 12-month periods. The contracts provide that they be reimbursed only for actual time, at the hourly rates specified in the attachment to the agreement. The agreement is for an all-inclusive amount, not to exceed $125 per hour. The estimated cost to contract for Hearing Officers for fiscal year 2015-16 is $19,320.
The City Council’s options include not approving the contracts with Mr. Bell and Mr. Marshall, modifying the terms of the contracts or directing staff to take other action.
I move to approve the professional services contracts with Robert Bell and John Marshall.
Hearing Officer Contract-Robert Bell.pdf
Hearing Officer Contract-John Marshall.pdf