Council oblivious while Holler buffs out buddies
Mammoth Lakes Town Council approved a $150,000 consulting contract at its regular meeting on Wednesday without the project going to bid.
The contract was awarded to Darin Dinsmore, a longtime crony of Town Manager Dan Holler. The relationship between Holler and Dinsmore dates back until at least 2000, when Holler served as County Manager of Douglas County, Nevada and Dinsmore was with the Sierra Business Council.
The contract with Dinsmore Sierra LLC is for the facilitation of a “public visioning/planning process for a revitalized downtown Mammoth Lakes.”
As Mammoth’s Planning and Economic Development Commission Chair Madeleine “Mickey” Brown said at the meeting, “I’m shocked that Council would even consider a service agreement of this dollar amount without issuing a Request for Proposals first …I don’t know if ever there’s been a previous incident where we’ve issued something for $140,000 without issuing an RFP.”
Brown requested some clarification regarding Town guidelines for RFPs. In other words, what requires something to go out for bid, and when is the Town able (via its Town Manager) to simply issue a scope of work to any particular individual?
When Colin Fernie followed up by asking about the lack of an RFP directly, Holler replied, “If you put the RFP out it would be awarded in November or the first part of Dec or later so we would have lost a couple months doing that.”
Brown also questioned the wisdom of bringing someone in who isn’t familiar with the town or what’s been done to this point. “Why would we bring in a new consultant, not familiar with the community or previous work, to facilitate this implementation strategy [following through on the Hart-Howerton concept]? And pay that consultant to review the work of other qualified consultants?”
Town Manager Dan Holler said, “The goal of the work is really to come in and work and meet with property and business and homeowners in area.” Holler touted Dinsmore’s resume, particularly as it related to his familiarity with tax-increment finance districts. He’ll be bringing some of the financial tools to us so we can look through those [for] what make sense in Mammoth Lakes, said Holler.