Holda resigns from EMU

July 5, 2007 by  
Filed under News

Steve Holda, former interim director of Finance, EMU

(July 5, 2007) Steve Holda, Executive Assistant to the Vice President for Business and Finance, Special Projects, has resigned effective Friday, July 6, 2007. Holda came to EMU in 2002 where he was assistant to the vice-president for business and finance. He was appointed interim director of Finance in 2005. He was a finalist for vice-president of Finance in 2006 but lost out to Janice Stroh.

Holda had been heavily involved in the controversial College Place street closing. Holda recently said the project was on hold pending a complete revisit of Eastern’s campus wide master plan. The plan to close College Place is still pending approval of the MDOT office in Brighton.

The closing and transfer of College Place to EMU was opposed by numerous business and home owners in the area. EMU student government and EMU faculty have also been opposed to the street closing in front of Pease auditorium. While it had support of the DTDDA and City officials, an earlier attempt to give College Place to Eastern was overturned when a hastily called City Council meeting in 2004 at 7:30 in the morning was found to be illegal. When a re-vote was scheduled four days later, several council members had switched their vote and the project was killed.

However, the project was quietly revived in 2006 (Link 1, Link 2) and a new application was sent to MDOT by the City and EMU. A second vote was never taken by City Council. Instead, facing opposition from the community, the City deferred on a final decision pending MDOT’s approval. It is fully expected that if MDOT approves the project, the mayor has the four votes necessary to approve a 99-year lease of College Place to EMU for $1 per year. In return, EMU will agree to a lease of the business school surface parking lot behind the AATA station at Pearl and Washington to the City under similar terms.

Just shortly after the College Place plan was revived by the city, Holda was appointed to the Depot Town DDA board in November 2006 by newly elected mayor Paul Schreiber. While only on the board for a short period of time, Holda was very active on the board.

No stranger to controversy, Holda was an advocate of EMU’s request for the city to grant a no-cost long term lease for a giant electronic billboard on city property on S. Huron and I-94. Neighbors near the billboard have voiced strong opposition to the plan. One neighborhood association even passed a resolution asking the city to not grant the lease because of concerns over the massive size of billboard and light pollution. The proposed billboard is nearly double the height of the existing board and three times the size of the current billboard.

Holda was also present through much of the controversy surrounding the excesses of the President’s House at Eastern Michigan. The Presidents House received a strong rebuke from Lansing politicians when a state audit showed the costs were nearly double what the university had claimed was spent on the project and that student funds had been spent on the project despite repeated assertions from EMU to the contrary. Since that audit, EMU has struggled to receive any funding from Lansing for capital improvement projects including the renovation of Mark Jefferson and Pray-Harold lecture halls.

Holda did not give reasons for his sudden resignation.

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