Grand Jury says Mammoth Town Council went beyond Brown Act

monocourthouse2008Last year’s Mono Grand Jury received two citizen complaints that laid out accusations that the Town of Mammoth Lakes, the Town Council and staff “pursued a secret plan with Waste Connections Inc” to use money collected in trash bills to buy real property to expand the Solid Waste Transfer Station in the Industrial Park, including plans to build and operate a Materials Recovery Facility.” The Grand Jury found that the Town failed to discuss details with the public and did discuss details not allowed in closed session under the Brown Act.

The Jury notes that real property negotiations at the Industrial Park could have been discussed in closed session but that evidence indicated that the Town Council went much further into talks about solid waste issues, including a Materials Recovery Facility, and Mono County’s concerns.

The Jury found that last year, residents of the Trails had objected to the Materials Recovery Facility locating in the Industrial Park. The Jury noted that in the history of the issue, all discussions but one were in closed session. Although after the Trails’ objections, more went public and the Council announced that any further MRF plans would proceed publicly.

The Jury found that discussions that went beyond the price and terms for an expansion parcel “violated the Brown Act because they were, at best, only tangentially-related to the proposed transactions. They were and are the public’s business,” wrote the Jury. “They could have and should have been discussed in open Council meetings where the public could participate.”

The Jury recommends closed sessions of the Town Council should be recorded. Recordings should be kept for a period of at least three years. The Jury recommends more Brown Act training for the Council. The Jury recommends the Council actively foster the principle of open government and “always err on the side of public disclosure, participation and discussion.”

The Jury recommends that citizens concerned about possible Brown Act violations by the Town Council “may immediately contact the Mono County District Attorney for assistance.” The Jury says that the DA’s office has “assured the Grand Jury that it is prepared to investigate and resolve such matters expeditiously.”

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Just Getting Worse
Just Getting Worse
7 years ago

Wait and see what the new council is already doing with MLR. Already it’s A fixed Deck with all council members including Mayor are on it. Plus MLPTA Director is still collecting Measure R funds. I was told that Both R and U funds were being used against the real… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
7 years ago

Just Getting Worse: I’ve been trying to wake up the electorate for 10 years. It just doesn’t work. You know the old story — try to teach a pig to sing doesn’t work and just pisses off the pig. I wrote letters opposing R and U and the Whitmore running… Read more »

Steve
Steve
7 years ago

What a great legacy Woods and Eastman left…NOT! i feel sick every time I see Eastman around town acting all high and mighty. What frauds!

A Citizen
A Citizen
7 years ago

Good news is the ones that were the buggiest offenders are no longer calling for all those “closed sessions” because they no longer are councilmen.

Mark
Mark
7 years ago

went beyond?

Is this libtard language for ‘violated the Brown act’?

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
7 years ago
Reply to  Mark

No name calling. The Jury did not state that the Council violated the Brown Act but indicated their behavior was out of line with it. Benett Kessler

Another citizen
Another citizen
7 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Yes, the report plainly says council violated the Brown Act.

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
7 years ago

I would agree, but the Jury does not make a formal accusation of that violation. Benett Kessler

Another Citizen
Another Citizen
7 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

What would you call Finding No. 1? It says Council VIOLATED the Brown Act.

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
7 years ago

And our story said that and quoted the report. In the Grand Jury process there is something called an accusation. That didn’t happen. BK

A Citizen
A Citizen
7 years ago

As much as I would love to hear what goes on behind closed doors in closed session you would be delusional to think they would record it and hold onto it for three years! The Grand Jury can’t make an Indictment of an entire Council or require recordings, it can… Read more »

Mark
Mark
7 years ago

Resolve the matter? Arrest someone and send them to court.

Typical Mammoth Lakes, some things never change. Glad I don’t spend a dime there anymore.

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
7 years ago

“Naughty, naughty…”, said the Mono Grand Jury.