Letter to the editor: concerns about town manaager

mltc8_6_13Mayor and Town Council,
I must say that you ( all of you) disgust me at this point. We as the town citizens are under the impression that you are intending to dismiss our latest town manager and hire a new one. You must have been planning this for quite some time. We don’t know what your current motives are but I can tell you from our side they are disingenuous. What does this say about the 5 of you. Not very good things I can tell you that if you don’t already know. I do know that you folks chose Marianna to be the Assistant Town Manager and then the Town manager. It was your choice and no one else’s.
This was the third town Manager in almost as many years. What does this say about our town council? I know what it does not say. It does not say that the past town managers are all that bad ,they are what they were and you have blinders. What is does say is that all of you town council members are incapable of the task of hiring a Town Manager. You are incapable of properly vetting the person applying for the job. In other words you are incompetent in performing one of the most important jobs of your position.
I hope you will not stick us for another Golden Parachute separation package.
I am to the point where we there needs to be some type of Legal intervention through the courts. I believe we could get some injunction if we can provide a merit.

So on the other hand if the above is not true then what you did was hire Marianna to run all the upper paid staff out of town either through elimination of positions or though a type of harassment. Harassment to the point where you demand a person to take on the workload of several other full time positions and demand the same level of work. To me that is outrageous. I realize that there is a certain amount of waste in Government but to demand what was cruel and probably illegal if challenged by the worker.

Take Johnny Goetz’s position he was hired as a inspector. At the time of his departure he took on code enforcement, top inspector, Trash, and other jobs.  I am sure that it will take several new employees to fulfill the tasks Johnny performed. I do not say this because I like Johnny , I say this because I know it to be true. All of you know I bucked heads with Johnny plenty. What I learned and thought is that Johnny was here to stay. So I figured out that I needed to work with him instead of against him. I sat in on meetings in order to make the changes so that all of the contractors would be on the same page of the code and in compliance. This was working but know Johnny is gone. I have to start over. There is a new code coming in January and I will bet you there will be once again a great level of lack of enforcement and compliance.

Johnny , Ray , Mark, and others made far less mistakes costing the town than that of the Airport Director had. Yet in the case of the Airport director you would not fire him early on. In a small town we do not want your current style of management. It is abusive, arrogant and will get us into trouble again.

Lastly if the rumors are correct that you intend to hire Tom Cage I strongly advise against this. I have nothing against Tom as a person or a businessman. However I feel he lacks the education and qualifications as Manager of Government operations. What we do not need is a person who does not know the law fluently as to the running of the local government. That is how things get screwed up and loose 40 plus Million. I can’t emphasize that enough.

Martin Kleinbard

28 Responses to Letter to the editor: concerns about town manaager

  1. Marv Liddel September 3, 2013 at 2:01 am #

    MMM is only following order of the council. She is not the problem, it is the council. They keep firing town managers who tell them what they don’t want to hear, even though it may be the truth.

    They are distroying the community they proclaim to support.

    Recall is the only solution.

  2. Don August 31, 2013 at 9:01 pm #

    I’m somewhat saddened at what this issue is doing to the Mammoth community… I’m an outsider looking in but have a little bit of experience in California representative government, on the local level… I am saddened do to the morale effects and financial effects upon local business, the local community, the town employees… I have never met MMM or members of the town board members… I know that each town board member must deeply reflect before making a decision of this magnitude… Don…

    • Next election is a long time away September 1, 2013 at 6:59 pm #

      You can be sure that the majority of we constituents, taxpayers, and citizens of Mammoth Lakes are not the biggest fans of any of those involved in this ongoing travesty.
      But there is far too much time until the next election. And those involved know it.
      We are screwed.

      • Reality Reigns September 2, 2013 at 8:20 am #

        Maybe now the people of Mammoth will take notice and get involved. Hopefully the next election won’t have candidates seated without having to be voted in.
        To MK – Your dreaming if you think any of the money flow to MLT from the Town will be stopped due to the TBID. There are Council Members who are benefiting from it.
        The subsidies need to be stopped to make the town more financially able to take care of it’s constituents. I would think paring down from 6+ million to 4+ million would be more than sufficient to run Tourism especially if Mammoth Mountain is already advertising for themselves.
        To – Next election is a long time away – The only way your screwed is if you take no action and sit back hoping someone else will come along and save you. Time will keep ticking and you can either voice yourself in a blog or get on your feet and start voicing yourself to friends and anyone who will listen to take back your town. The Council Members are self serving egotists who know you won’t take any action. They feel the people of Mammoth Lakes will let them do whatever they want no matter the consequences.
        Yes you are all screwed unless you tie your shoes and get in the game.

        • MK September 2, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

          to Reality,
          I would bet money that MLT will have it’s budget reduced once money flows in from TBID.
          That will be reality.

        • Show us the way September 2, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

          Okay “Reality Reigns” – you’ve shamed me into taking action.
          So name the place and method on how you personally will be “getting in the game” and taking the town back.

    • Desert Tortoise September 1, 2013 at 9:32 pm #

      Don offers a perfectly reasonable statement and all he gets is a thumbs down?

      • MK September 2, 2013 at 9:48 am #

        Yea the thumbs down was not mine,
        However I think the members reflect before they make decisions but I am baffled as to what they reflect upon.

        Com-on it seems too often these things are brought about during a holiday. Why do they have bring out such dirt at these times. During the 4th they come out and say there will not be fireworks. Stupid stupid stupid.

      • Must be from an elected official September 2, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

        The thumbs down must be from an elected official.
        Sadly, these people are so out of touch and in love with themselves and their position that they’ve lost contact with reality.

  3. MK August 31, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

    Management by intimidation is screwed up.
    Unfortunate Her orders were to cut, and cut she did.

    • Why the fiscal troubles in California? September 1, 2013 at 6:55 am #

      Californians have adopted a direct and participatory democracy rather than the representative democracy favored by James Madison and other founders. The California approach opened the way for a major role for voter initiatives. These initiatives were used sparingly for much of the 20th century, but then in 1978, Californians passed Proposition 13. It was an anti-tax measure but had vast implications both for taxes and the power of the legislature to respond to economic shocks, such as the financial crisis and Great Recession.

      Proposition 13 was a reaction to a doubling of property tax bills, as assessments soared in the early 1970s. The initiative cut the property-tax rate from an average of 2.6% to 1% in every county. It also capped the annual increase in assessed values at 2%. To make sure that the tax cut was not offset by tax increases elsewhere, Proposition 13 required a two-thirds super-majority in the legislature for any tax hike.

      With a huge revenue hole, local services faced enormous cuts. Instead, the state government, which had a large surplus, bailed the localities out. That one-time transfer became a permanent financing mechanism. And even the remaining property tax revenues were allocated by the state legislature. California now transfers 60% to 70% of its state revenues to localities.

      In the wake of Proposition 13, two things have happened. First, of the hundreds of new initiatives that have passed, many have promised a tax cut or an expanded service without compensating financing, so much of the budget was allocated before the legislature even had a chance to negotiate. Second, the requirement for a super-majority for any tax increase made it almost impossible for policymakers to raise revenues. The consensus appears to be that California has become unmanageable.

      On the pension front, I know the story. California is in trouble because a retroactive expansion of benefits in the late 1990s made the state one of the most generous in the nation. Although unlike Illinois and New Jersey, it is not guilty of deliberately underfunding its plans, some degree of underfunding and the sheer magnitude of the pension commitments are putting enormous pressure on both state and local budgets in California. It is also a state where it is particularly difficult to modify public pensions by changing future benefits for current employees.

      Finally, California was particularly hard hit by the financial crisis and ensuing recession. Even today, California has higher foreclosure and unemployment rates than most states. And local government revenue in California grew between 2007 and 2010 by only 3% compared to 9% for the rest of the nation. Part of the low growth can be explained by an actual decline in state transfers, which increased elsewhere by 10% over the 2007-10 period.

      More recently, California has seen some short-term success in stabilizing its finances through spending restraint and a voter-approved tax increase, but the underlying problems remain. Combine a dysfunctional state government, which cannot raise revenues on its own and cuts back just when localities need help, with very generous pension promises and the devastating impact of the 2008 financial collapse, and California is batting three for three. No wonder 10 of the nation’s 32 financially troubled cities are located in California.

      • mk September 1, 2013 at 9:48 am #

        Why the fiscal troubles in California?

        You have no clue to the financial problems and causes that are burdening the Town of Mammoth lakes.
        Did you hear that the town lost a 30 plus million dollar lawsuit that ran up to over 40 million. That is cost an extra 3 plus million on top of that to get rid of. That the cost for litigation was probably 4 million and a burn rate of 400k a month during Bankruptcy.

        This town was doing ok, Not great but surviving. If the iarrogan diots who go us into the litigation just settled early I seriously doubt we would be in the trying position we are in now.

        Prop 13 HOGWASH, Most of the property here in Mammoth has turned over and new current assessments were applied. Prop 13 helped the people who did not move and stayed in their homes without getting screwed by taxes that would otherwise drive them out. This town was fine before the arrogant bastards screwed it up. We passed our own taxes to fund recreation and other things so taxes were not a real issue.

        This town spent almost 3/4 ths of a Million dollars to build bookends at the entrance of the town when we did not have the money or the need to do so. They tore down a perfectly good monument that was barely 10 years old. All to drain all the cash assets to show the BK judge we have no cash. The Public arts commission charged with the task to approve such projects did not approve it. The arrogant council overrode the PAC anyway. The members of the PAC resigned.

        The issue is the burden of paying the lawsuit that sucks a good percentage from out town budget. Then the past town manager took a payoff to leave his Job and keep his mouth shut to the tune of 150k. This town cannot sustain this.The problem is the same arrogant bastards will repeat this type of mistake and bury the town even further.

        The above is the opinion of the Author and the expression of free speech and the right to redress our public officials.

        • So how do you propose we get rid of them? September 1, 2013 at 11:43 am #

          So when are you going to initiate a recall, carry picket signs demonstrating your angst, and get the ball rolling to remove those “arrogant bastards” that you speak of?


        • No taxes No services September 1, 2013 at 11:49 am #


          If you cannot raise taxes to pay for your municipal services –
          your municipal services (and some very talented people) will deteriorate and go away.

          • MK September 1, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

            Taxes ….
            If you have not heard there is TBID now.
            I am sure the budget for MLT will go away once the money flows from TBID

            TBID is expected to raise millions.

        • Desert Tortoise September 1, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

          Prop 13 has a little known provision that allows business properties to be bought and sold multiple times without them being reappraised and taxes raised on them. If no single person owns a 50% of more interest in a commercial property, it can be sold as many times as the owners care to without subjecting it to reappraisal. There are huge apartment complexes, commercial retail and industrial properties, golf courses and athletic facilities that are owned by cooperatives or partnerships that are bought and sold without triggering any sort of reappraisal, simply because no one person owns a 50% or greater share in the property. There are properties that are still paying the same rates as they did when Prop 13 passed, even though they have changed hands multiple times, simply because of this provision in Prop 13. It was not for nothing that Howard Jarvis also represented the biggest apartment owner organization in California when Prop 13 was passed.

          • MK September 2, 2013 at 9:43 am #

            Desert tortoise

            And you know this to be true of many properties here in Mammoth?

  4. We need a leader who lives here August 30, 2013 at 1:50 pm #

    Dear Martin,
    You, (as many else have been) have been buffaloed by MMM and her PowerPoint Presentation skills. The finance director can do the same job she does. We need a leader who lives here, cares about the people they’ve known for years, and can relate to each and every one of us.

    • BS August 30, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

      Please tell me you’re not suggesting that the finance director should be the new town manager? We should all shudder at that suggestion!

    • Elect the Town Manager August 30, 2013 at 4:05 pm #

      Dear Mammoth Councilmen,
      Have the position be an elected one.

      • Dude! September 1, 2013 at 9:57 am #

        Electing a town manager would work out about as well as electing a town council.

      • Desert Tortoise September 1, 2013 at 9:18 pm #

        Read the California Government Code. In a General Law city, there must be five elected council members, one of whom will carry the title of mayor to chair council meetings and for ceremonial purposes, and there is a city manager who is a civil servant appointed by the city council. The laws governing General Law cities are detailed and specific.

    • MK August 30, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

      I have not been buffaloed, the town council has.

      I always knew she was here as the hatchet. I called her on it in a personal conversation. I also called her on the point that she does not appear to have a vested interest in our town.

      You did not get my point. She took orders from the Council. If there is any upset it lies with the 5 of them.

      Having a busy multi- business owner who from what we know has no town manager experience. We need someone who will have a vested interest in town as well as the expertise to execute the job competently. Who can we entice here to Mammoth now? I would suspect anyone would take this place with a lot of caution.

      • What makes a good Town Manager August 31, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

        A good town manager should be like a coach – not a hatchet man.

        Cut the staff in half, make the remaining staff absorb the remaining work and threaten to fire them if they don’t perform to your standards.

        Management by intimidation is the nastiest style of management.

        And anyone can to it.

        • Desert Tortoise September 1, 2013 at 9:23 pm #

          Do you have any idea of the nature and quantity of reports required by the state and Federal government to account for your tax money? We face the same decision in our community, who to cut due to reduced revenues, but you can only cut so many admin staff before the people you have can no longer accomplish all that is required of them by law. Then you start to fail audits because the staff simply is too little to do all that is required of them and money falls through the cracks, or opportunities for grants are missed because there was no one available to research and write the grant requests. Where do you think the money for your road repairs comes from? Mostly grant money, and every city and town is out there competing for that money. Same for money for parks, for police cars and police equipment, for schools, etc. If your city is staffed so thin they cannot research and write grant requests, no one in another city or the county is going to do it for you. Same thing if your staff misses deadlines for reports to the state or Federal government accounting for our tax money.

  5. Help Us ! August 30, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

    Mr. Kleinbard,

    Thank you for stating what needs to be said. How can we help make it correct? This is Insane !!!

    • MK August 31, 2013 at 8:28 am #

      You ask what can be done. Well I was not able to show up to the meeting before closed session but many others did. This sent a message once again to those 5 on the top.
      It seemed to work for now.

      I hope they can learn to work with MMM and get what is good for the town and it’s constituents. This revolving door for a town Manager is not good for anyone.

      I hope they will also learn that try to place a special meeting on a holiday and we will have something to say. I hope this is the last time of these shenanigans. I will not hold by breath though.

  6. AS August 30, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    Aren’t these public officials you are talking about? Which doesn’t that mean that the resident’s elected them to make these decisions? This is why it is important to vote, so you can elect someone that will work in your best interest. Too little too late.


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