New Dillon City Attorney Jim Dolan settles in

New Dillon City Attorney Jim Dolan stands just outside his office on the second floor of City Hall. M.P. Regan photo


After serving part-time for years as Dillon’s legal representative in criminal cases, Jim Dolan last month gained promotion from deputy city attorney to the full-time position of city attorney.

“I want to take a moment to thank the Council—it’s been five years previous to this and I’ve enjoyed working with you,” Dolan told the City Council after it unanimously consented to his appointment at the Feb. 5 Council meeting.

“I want that relationship to continue,” said Dolan, who at the next City Council meeting asked for a one-on-one meeting with each of the eight Council members so that they could get to know him better and discuss with him some of the important issues facing the city.

People in Dillon who aren’t on the City Council or involved in criminal cases looking to get to know Dolan better will get their chance in the coming weeks, months and years, with Dolan’s relocation to town.

The city charter doesn’t require the city attorney to live in Dillon. But to honor the concerns of Mayor Mike Klakken and some City Council members, as well as his own fondness and respect for the city, Dolan and his wife, Shelly, agreed to move to Dillon from Anaconda after his appointment.

“I’ve wanted to make that move for three or four years, but under the part-time arrangement I was not able to,” Dolan told the Council.

“I really like the people in Dillon. Citizens in Dillon want to engage with their local government, which is important for me,” Dolan later told the Tribune.

“Dillon is a town that’s going places. People here regard it as an honor to work for a living. My parents were both small business owners and I grew up with the attitude that if there was something that needed to get done, you just rolled up your sleeves and got after it,” said Dolan, whose father emigrated to America from Ireland, in 1963, and then trained as an electrical engineer, later helping IBM design the first commercial mainframe computers.

“My mother was a teacher, and then she went into business. She bought some properties and turned them into motels,” recalled Dolan of his family’s time in Rochester, Minnesota, where Dolan grew up and his mother still lives.

Dolan came to Dillon and his life’s work by a roundabout route. Born in Toledo, Ohio, he moved to Montana in 1988 to study film and television production at Montana State University in Bozeman.


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