Editor’s note: The Union got the story about Grass Valley City Administrator Dan Holler being a finalist for a county manager job in Churchill County, Nev., (where Fallon is located) from its sister paper, the Lahontan Daily News, which reported it a day earlier from a public meeting.
Both stories are locked behind a “paywall,” but the information is in public documents from Churchill County, where anyone can read them (scroll to bottom).
When you read Dan’s application letter, you wonder why the Grass Valley City Council would let him go. He is being honest in outlining his strengths and accomplishments (see below). (Dan just received a performance review, which I wrote about earlier).
You also wonder what would have prompted a well-regarded administrator countywide such as Dan to look elsewhere.
I also was interested to see the references that Dan listed — some people who have challenged the “old guard” ways — albeit in a highly respectful and logical way.
Is there a power play going on in Grass Valley between the “old guard” and the ones with fresh, more progressive ideas? People in Grass Valley ought to listen up to what’s going on behind the scenes, with three City Council seats up for grabs in November.
The real estate and construction business isn’t coming back anytime soon — honest. Reopening the Idaho-Maryland Mine seems like a longshot. So what direction is Grass Valley going to take to jumpstart its economy?
The city is at a crossroads, as I wrote earlier in “Grass Valley goes its own way.”
As for Dan, I wish him the best of luck. He faced a lot of problems when he accepted a job here that were beyond his control — declining tax receipts from the recession, Weaver Auto’s closure, the axing of redevelopment agencies and more. I think he’s done a very good job under the circumstances, with a positive, professional attitude.
Dan’s expérience is not unique, either. It’s what a lot of well-meaning professionals experience when they walk into the buzz saw of small-town politics in our western County. (I see much less of this in Truckee, where I’m also active). We need to get past it. Will we? I would argue that our future depends on it.
Mr. Geof Stark
Churchill County Human Resources 155 n. Taylor Street, Suite 155 Fallon, NV 89406
RE: Churchill County Manager Position
Dear Mr. Stark:
I am writing in regards to the Churchill County Manager Position. I am familiar with the area and many of the issues and challenges facing the County.
I will bring a solid background in local government management to the County Manager position with direct and relevant experience benefiting Churchill County. I have good personal relationship skills and am able to communicate well verbally and in writing.
I have prepared and given a variety of presentations for different audiences including City Councils, Board of County Commissioners, management teams, general employees, business leaders, the general public, legislators, civic and business organizations and neighborhood groups. I have worked well with individuals and community organizations on a variety of difficult issues including land use, infrastructure planning, increased fees and charges, legislative changes, and development projects.
I have a diversified background in economic development. Work experience has involved different aspects of tourism and promotion working with Chambers of Commerce, Downtown Associations, non-profits and Visitor Authorities. I have worked with individual companies, builders/developers, regional development authorities and others in the development of local industrial parks and in securing land use entitlements.
I have worked successfully with other jurisdictions and levels of government, including Nevada County and neighboring cities on joint projects and community programs. While in Douglas County I served as part of a five county team that was successful in the opening of a multi-county youth treatment center, which included Churchill County.
I assisted in the development of a tri-county legislative team to effectively lobby the Nevada State Legislature. I have testified before legislative committees and worked with legislators in both Nevada and California.
While in Douglas County I worked with the ranching and farming community on options to enhance the economic viability of agriculture. A successful Transfer Development Right (TOR) program was implemented and federal conservation easements were purchased. I believe a Churchill’s TOR program followed some of the work done in Douglas County.
I will bring a very strong background in local government finance. My experience includes working through some very difficult budgets and recommending and implementing difficult choices. However, the end result was a much stronger fiscal foundation. I have transitioned the City of Grass Valley from having a General Fund Budget of $12.5M to $10.04M and sill maintained core services.
I oversee and coordinate the annual budget preparation with department heads to present a management supported budget plan. Priorities and needs are balanced across the organization based on the overall direction provided by the elected body.
I have effectively managed both a city and county in transition. As noted above the City has gone through a very difficult financial period. It is now preparing to engage in needed public/private partnership for future development and take on some major infrastructure projects that will also help the economy.
Douglas County went through a development transformation with a 1990 population at 27,637 growing to an estimate of 53,000 in 2008. This resulted in working in an environment of transition including going from a financial base of agriculture and tourism (dominated by gaming at Lake Tahoe) to a strong housing market, economic diversification with retail and manufacturing, and a renewed focus on expanding tourism offerings.
Through my time in California and Nevada I have had the pleasure of working with and developing a dedicated, effective and supportive team of department heads, supervisors, and employees who do a wonderful job for their communities.
My office is known for having an “open door policy” to meet with residents, employees and business leaders. I am able to bring individuals and organizations together with staff and elected officials to address issues up-front and create consensus based solutions.
I value professional management and am committed to on-going professional development. I have been active with state and national associations such as ICMA, NACA, Local Government Managers Association of Nevada (LOGMAN), NACO, and League of California Cities. I have participated in a number of national conferences including NACO and the Western Interstate Region (WIR).
I believe that my experience, background and demonstrated skills will serve the Churchill County well as County Manager. You have a copy of my resume. If I can provide any other information please let me know. I look forward to pursuing this opportunity with Churchill County.
Yolanda Cookson, Council Member
Chauncey Poston (Previous Council Member)
Joe Heckel, (Previous Community Development Director)
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