Following an afternoon closed session meeting on Sept. 24, the Mammoth Lakes Town Council announced it had hired Dan Holler, 52, former town administrator for Grass Valley, Calif., as the new Interim Town Manager. Holler is expected to begin work on Oct. 1 in Mammoth Lakes, Councilman Matthew Lehman said.
The hiring of Holler comes on the heels of the resignation of former Town Manager Marianna Marysheva Martinez, which became effective Sept. 6. Mammoth Lakes Police Chief Dan Watson has been serving as Interim Town Manager since that time.
MMM’s resignation followed several closed session meetings held in August by the Mammoth Town Council, mostly while MMM was on vacation.
MMM had served as Town Manager since February, following the removal of her then-boss Dave Wilbrecht.
She also served as Interim Town Manager before Wilbrecht was hired in April 2011.
The Council, as well as the community, had divided feelings on her departure, and the reason for the parting of ways has yet to be clearly divulged.
When asked if it bothered him that Mammoth seemed to chew through town managers pretty quickly, Holler said no.
“I will be able to bring some stability to the position,” Holler said of his job as Interim to find a permanent Town Manager.
Holler may potentially be interested in that permanent position, but as he put it, starting as the interim is a good way for a “dual test drive.”
“The Council and the community can test drive me and I can test drive the community,” he said. “Ultimately though, it will be up to the Town Council.”
At this time, his wife, who is a teacher’s aide, will remain in Grass Valley and the couple will commute on weekends. Holler has no children.
According to a press release issued by the City of Grass Valley, Holler resigned at the end of August, following “a desire by the City Council to move in a direction for which Holler sees himself as not being the best fit for the City … The change will allow Holler to focus on new opportunities in both the public and private sector, without impacting Grass Valley.” His resignation, according to www.theunion.com, came unexpectedly following a closed-door employment evaluation by the Grass Valley City Council.
Holler told The Sheet that his time in Grass Valley had run its course.
“The Council wanted to go in a different direction,” Holler said. “I worked there during five years of economic recession so it’s probably healthy for the City to have a fresh set of eyes going forward.”
The press release went on to say, “For Holler the past 5 and ½ years has been challenging financially for the City and managing that process with the loss of Redevelopment, with an aggressive capital investment program, ongoing service demands and looking for creative ways to help the economy has been very demanding.”
A second story at www.theunion.com said, “As the city of Grass Valley moves ahead with its search for a new municipal executive, it will spend more than $81,000 to honor a severance agreement with former City Administrator Dan Holler, whose resignation was announced in late August. Holler’s severance includes three months of aggregate salary plus a final payout of accumulated leave balances.”
Holler’s last day with Grass Valley was Sept. 3 according to www.theunion.com.
Lehman explained that there was no set timeline for Holler’s work, and expected it could take 3-6 months, especially with the upcoming holiday season.
“For the first few weeks, he will be familiarizing himself with town employees and our situation,” Lehman said.
“I plan to get in, understand the Town’s priorities and get them done,” Holler said. “I look forward to helping to restore and strengthen city staff for the community,” he added, referring to the many top-management level vacancies currently available within the Town. Holler will help shape the job descriptions for these positions going forward.
Lehman added that it would be Council and Holler’s goal to establish what they want in a town manager and then go find that person.
“Rather than putting someone in place and then shaping the town around them as we have done in the past,” Lehman said.
Town Council will take action formalizing Holler’s contract at its regular meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 2.
According to a Town of Mammoth press release, “Holler started his government career in 1988 with the City of Glendora. He also worked for the City of West Covina in the Finance Department for 6 years before transitioning to Douglas County, NV as the Budget/Fiscal Officer and County Manager.”
Holler has a Master of Public Administration degree and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, both from Montana State University.
During his tenure as Grass Valley City Administrator, Holler served as Chief Negotiator for the City, and coordinated the development of a tourism marketing and promotional program along with the establishment of a revised Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center.
When asked if he was familiar with Mammoth’s newly approved Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID), Holler enthusiastically said yes.
“I think the TBID is fantastic,” he said. “It’s great to have that funding source, which is not controlled by the Town.”
He added, though, that he sees the Town being an integral part of the TBID.
“None of the piece should stand alone,” Holler said. “We need to bring our assets together to help promote a bigger picture.”
Reportedly, the Mammoth Town Council briefly courted the idea of appointing local Tom Cage as Town Manager, but failed to follow through with that idea when the community called for a proper hiring process.