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Sparks city manager up for possible termination


Sparks City Manager Neil Krutz is up for an annual review at Monday’s council meeting, and the council is scheduled to consider terminating his employment.

Krutz in the past year has come under fire particularly for the firing of former Sparks Fire Chief Mark Lawson, who was employed for days before criminal charges against him were announced. Lawson has since sued the city over the firing.

Krutz announced Lawson’s firing in a now-deleted YouTube video, which is noted as part of the lawsuit.

“I am here with terrible, bad, horrible news,” Krutz said in the video. “The city learned late last week that serious criminal charges were about to be filed against Fire Chief Mark Lawson.

“After taking some time to absorb that information and, and do some work to verify it, check it out, we did find that to be true. So this morning I met with Chief Lawson and asked for his resignation and he granted it. He’s no longer employed by the City of Sparks.” 

Lawson in court documents said he did not resign.

Krutz is also facing a complaint with the Nevada Ethics Commission, allegedly after the previous fire chief waived a sprinkler requirement for Krutz’ home. That complaint, filed by the Sparks firefighters’ union, alleges Kurtz benefited from waiver.

“Local 1265 believes that the City of Sparks City Manager has misused his position as a manager to gain financial savings,” the fire union alleged. “He has bypassed the fire code and did not sprinkler his home when it was clearly required by the fire code. 

Monday’s meeting will consider Krutz’ competence.

“In accordance with NRS 241.033, prior written notice to Mr. Krutz that a meeting will take place is required if his character, misconduct, competence, or health will be discussed,” the Monday council meeting agenda notes. “Mr. Krutz must be allowed to attend the meeting. He may also bring a representative if he so choses [sic]. Mr. Krutz has been properly notified of his rights.”

Krutz last yeared received generally high marks by Sparks City Council members. This year, however, ratings for management, policy execution, council relations and community relations were mostly negative. 

On a scale of zero to six, Krutz scored below three on all metrics. One council member gave him zeros on everything. His overall rating is 2.5.

The Sparks City Charter states: “The City Manager may be removed by the Mayor and a three-fifths majority vote of the City Council or by a four-fifths majority vote of the City Council without the vote of the Mayor.”

If two or fewer members of the council vote to remove Krutz, the motion will fail. If three members vote to remove the city manager, the mayor will be the deciding vote.

“This is not going to be fun, but it’s part of the gig,” Sparks Mayor Ed Lawson told This Is Reno when asked about the possible termination.

A motion at a recent council meeting was made by Council member Dian Vanderwell to consider his termination at Monday’s meeting. Council member Charlene Bybee seconded the motion.

A call to Krutz was not returned by the time of publication. This story may be updated.

Krutz has been city manager since 2019.

The news of Krutz’ possible termination was first reported today by KRNV.

Bob Conrad
Bob Conradhttp://thisisreno.com
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR.