Dolores delays manager decision

Friday, June 6, 2014 3:41 PM

They turned in resumes, they Skyped, they interviewed in person, but none of the applicants for the Dolores town manager position made the cut.

So rather than orchestrate a third round of applicants and interviews, the board of trustees decided last week to let it lie for now.

"We're staying with me as the interim manager, and will contract out some services," said treasurer Lana Hancock. She will continue her duties as treasurer and clerk.

"We did not find anybody the board was comfortable with," said Dolores mayor Val Truelsen. "We will be hiring a consultant on a six-month contract to help manage some of our projects."

The contractor will be responsible for oversight of various projects including the Phase 2 sidewalk plan and the new Overlook Trail system.

"We need a detail man to be on the ground making sure the job gets done and dealing with any issues," Truelsen said. "Lana already has a lot of duties."

The person and contract will be presented at the June 9 board meeting. In December, the board will revisit the issue of whether to resume its search.

Since Ryan Mahoney resigned as manager in December, the board has been seeking a replacement. But it proved tougher than it looked.

"It's hard to top Ryan," said board trustee Sandy Lauzon. "We felt no one fit what we needed. For this job, you need more than just a good resume."

Seven people were called in for interviews, but the board could not come to a definitive agreement on a candidate. Four were out of the area, and three were local. Two owned businesses in town, and the board felt it could be a conflict of interest.

"We're a unique crowd with a lot of diversity," Lauzon said. "All manner of folks are here: farm and ag, hunters, recreationists. A manager needs to be able to listen to and respect everyone's needs and considerations."

Dolores is in the busy season, Hancock said, with festivals, a sidewalk project, and a grant to help build the connector trail from town to the mesa above the graveyard. Eventually, the forest service will build a trail from there to the House Creek campground.

Bids for the sidewalk project were opened yesterday. Sidewalk will be added from the Visitor's Center westward to First Street and the crosswalk to Joe Rowell Park.

On the east side of town, the sidewalk will be extended from the Pony Espresso Coffee shop eastward to 11th Street and the crosswalk to the school.

Work on the town's portion of the trail was expected to begin in September. The town was awarded a grant for Southwest Conservation Corps to provide the labor, and they may arrive earlier to begin the work. The new trail will pass through challenging terrain, requiring switchbacks to be built and passing through a narrow slot in the cliff face.

"We will put the word out for volunteers when the time comes," Hancock said.