Grass Valley tight-lipped on new city manager |

Grass Valley tight-lipped on new city manager

Christopher Rosacker
Staff Writer

It appears Grass Valley has found its next top municipal employee, though current leaders won't say who just yet.

The Grass Valley City Council is scheduled to meet behind closed doors at noon today to appoint a city manager — the city's first since the late-August resignation of City Administrator Dan Holler and the subsequent revamping of the municipal government structure to one led by a city manager.

"Until I get signatures on a dotted line, I won't say anything," said interim City Manager Jeffrey Foltz, when asked for the name of the individual tapped to take over as the city manager.

"If all goes well, the new person will start in February and I'll be back into retirement."

“If all goes well, the new person will start in February and I’ll be back into retirement.”
Interim Grass Valley City Manager Jeffrey Foltz

Mayor Dan Miller, City Councilwoman Jan Arbuckle and Councilman Howard Levine also would not comment on candidates.

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"No comment on that," Levine said.

No announcements are expected to be made after today's meeting, Foltz said. Instead, another meeting will likely be scheduled for Monday to publicly report decisions reached today.

Foltz, who retired as Yuba City's manager in 2006, had filled in as Grass Valley's interim city administrator prior to Holler's 2008 hiring and was pegged to fill that role again after Holler's resignation, but California's employee pension program prohibited the city hiring an annuitant to serve in the same interim position twice.

Instead, the city hired Foltz as a consultant and tasked him with finishing the process of converting the municipality to a city manager form of government. Once completed, Foltz was declared the interim city manager in early October and tasked with finding his own replacement.

"The reason (Foltz) did such an outstanding job is he has been exposing all of us to what it is going to be like with a city manager," said Mayor Miller. "It was breaking us in."

In a city administrator form of governance, elected officials play active roles in the local government in conjunction with a city administrator, who works with the elected officials to see their policies implemented.

In a nutshell, Foltz reported to Council in October that the key differences between the two models is that a city manager serves as the chief executive officer of a city with policy direction from a city council.

"We are going to have someone that department heads are going to be reporting to," Miller said.

"I think it will create a better atmosphere for city employees because they won't have to worry about five council people running around telling them five different things and not knowing which way to go. … City Council is going to take a less active role in what goes on in the city.

"Everything is now going to be funneled through the city manager. We will continue to go to department heads and ask for information, but we won't be able to go to them and say, 'Hey, I want you to do this.' It goes through the city manager now. We set policy and the city manager carries that policy out."

Not only will having a new city manager streamline executive directives in city hall, but Arbuckle said it will allow the city to move forward with a bunch of issues that have been put on hold during the transition.

Some of those paused matters include filling a vacant finance officer position and a fire chief, the latter of which could be abandoned if the city reaches an agreement with the Nevada County Consolidated Fire District about sharing administrative services.

Today's meeting is scheduled to begin at noon today in the Mayor's Conference Room at Grass valley City Hall, located at 125 E. Main St.

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email or call 530-477-4236.

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