Holler proposes town restructuring

Having had five weeks to examine budget-induced gaps and unfilled positions, Interim Town Manager Dan Holler this week came forward with what he called a “consistent, effective and efficient” town staffing model.

His proposal, introduced at the Town Council meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 4, included changes in town administration, finance, community and economic development, and public works.

The council voted unanimously to pass the reorganization plans.

His presentation followed a two-hour closed session in which council members interviewed four candidates for a consulting postiion to find a “permanent” town manager to replace Marianna Marysheva-Martinez.

The proposed restructuring was not drastic, but town staffers said the method by which Holler arrived at his findings was refreshing after the reign of Marysheva-Martinez, who tended to be on the heavy-handed side.

“This,” said one staff member “is truly a staff document.”

What came out of it was in large part intuitive and not startling. Among the main changes is a proposed reshuffling of the town’s finance department, which is burdened by keeping track of such things as the collection of Transient Occupancy Taxes (TOT), as well as the brand new wrinkle of tracking fees from the Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID).

“Over the past five years, the Town’s staffing levels have been significantly reduced,” Holler wrote in a report to the council before the meeting.

“A number of positions have been eliminated or left vacant, with some positions filled by current employees in an ‘acting’ capacity. Over the past 45 days, I have met with staff members and reviewed a number of preliminary organizational plans and budgetary documents that address different staff positions and departmental structures.

“However, there has not been a comprehensive strategic plan in place to recommend filling of critical management positions with recommended funding options as part of a management assessment.

“The purpose of this report and recommendation is to identify those positions that are the most critical to the efficient and effective operation of the town and to have a plan in place for filling those positions.”

He said the reorganization scheme was “realistic in relation to the town’s financial plan and current revenues.”

He suggested in the report that with the town now operating on a scattershot blend of fill-in replacements and with some staffers taking on extra duties, the town is running at less than optimal efficiency.

He said the overall goal of the reorganization is to have “no net impact” on the town budget.

Among the highlights from Holler’s report is a self-imposed “salary freeze” on his own position, currently $158,000 plus benefits for a total compensation of $173,800.

That could change, he said, based on the Council’s final choice for a town manager, but if let stand, it would represent a savings range from between $15,000 to $35,000 a year.

In the Finance Department, Holler recommended scrapping the proposed position currently called a “Budget Analyst,” and then re-jigger the job duties as an executive-level “budget director.”

In addition, Holler asked for funding help in the IT Department and the police department “increasing productivity without reducing service levels.”

The report was the first comprehensive analysis from Holler since he signed on.

Meanwhile, the council continued its hunt for a permanent Town Manager, although because he himself is a candidate, Holler is not participating in the recruitment.