Mammoth public points to expensive managers as way to save money

Mammoth Town officials are counting up responses to a community survey on what to do about paying off the big MLLA debt. Meanwhile, citizens continue to post website comments and letters and talk at morning coffee about what went wrong and what happens now. There’s a lot of anger.

Why didn’t town officials talk with local law enforcement about the consequences of police cuts?  And, why not consider other cuts like top managers?

Mayor Pro-Tem Rick Wood said he expects more discussion and hopes the town can move past the “us versus them” attitude that now exists. To criticism that the town failed to examine impacts of police cuts first, Wood said, “We are looking for long-term, creative, innovative and cost effective solutions to our budget issue.” Bottom line, he said, the Town has to pay MLLA $2 million a year.  Wood said that he has received emails from former police officers who support the police cuts. He has heard both sides. Said Wood, “We have to find a balance.”

Councilman Wood said there may be innovative models around that speak to the need for downsizing police departments.  He also pointed to 35 students in the reserve class at Cerro Coso.  Wood said town officials are gathering information on their proposals and more will be revealed at the Council meeting Thursday at 6pm.

A number of citizens have asked, why doesn’t the Town get rid of one of its expensive managers to save money?  Town Manager Dave Wilbrecht who now oversees planning as well, makes more than $311,000 per year, including benefits.  Assistant Town Manager Marianna Marysheva-Martinez collects around $250,000 plus use of a town-owned condo.  Those who think management is top heavy point to the salaries and benefits of other administrators in Inyo and Mono where governments run on one manager at less money.

Mono County Administrator Jim Arkens makes around $228,000. All of the figures include benefits.  Inyo County Administrator Kevin Carunchio makes $213,000. City of Bishop Administrator Keith Caldwell brings home $237,000.

Councilwoman Jo Bacon said it would not be a smart thing to cut either the Town Manager or Assistant Manager.  “Both are carrying huge workloads,” she said.  “They are well compensated but they are incredible workers.”  Bacon said Assistant Town Manager Marianna Marysheva-Martinez’s contract is up in March and the Town will look at priorities at that point.  Bacon did say Martinez is “interested in staying.”  Bacon also pointed to the fact that the Town no longer has department heads at the airport, recreation, planning and finance.  Lower level managers were hired instead.

Councilman Wood said Martinez clearly has value, was instrumental in budget cuts, mediation and bankruptcy proceedings and works incredible hours.  He said the Town needs a budget analyst which will be examined at the end of Martinez’s contract.  Wood said Martinez’s job will be completed at some point.

The Council invites citizens to talk issues at Thursday’s Council meeting which starts at 6pm.  The third policy item on the agenda says, “Community discussion pertaining to the Town’s proposed Restructuring Plan to make payments on the approved settlement with Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition (MLLA) and Ballas Entities, and build long-term fiscal stability.”

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62 Responses to Mammoth public points to expensive managers as way to save money

  1. concerned October 17, 2012 at 12:04 pm #

    FREE use of a town owned condo. Nothing in life is free. Someone always pays. In this case it is the towns people who have the most at stake. Not the special town manager who will skate out of here after all is said and done.

    • Mark October 18, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

      I’m surprised your post doesn’t get more attention.

      You’re dead on right

  2. quietstorm October 17, 2012 at 9:17 am #

    How to recall town council members…………………………

    At least two on Town Council need to know that they are in the “hot seat” too – just like they put the police department and whitmore pool employees, etc

    So citizens, it’s time to put the steps of a recall in place – check out the pdf link below:

    Let’s just “fire (this recall) shot across the bow”!

    …. or do we sit here like helpless children while the bullies run the playground?

    The town moved this week’s TC meeting to the SAME night as the MUSD meeting (on purpose?) – are we forced to choose which meeting is more important to attend?

    Thursday October 18th – 5:30 pm MHS Library
    All community members are invited to attend

    Town Council Meeting-
    October 18
    6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    Council Chambers, Suite Z

    Nicely done TC! – a divide and conquer move?

    • Mark October 17, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

      “Let’s just “fire (this recall) shot across the bow”!”


    • Where is the petition? October 17, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

      I’ll gladly sign any recall petition the good people of Mammoth put in front of me.
      I will also sign any petition to call in The Mono County Grand Jury on this travesty.
      A Grand Jury investigation will most certainly result in a thorough examination as to what the town council was/is hiding behind all those closed door meetings. Facts, figures, dollar amounts, who said what, what did Gregory know, who was to gain from what, were there bribes? Malfeasance? Other means of political graft?
      A Grand Jury investigation is the only way to hold those in question responsible for any misdeeds or wrongdoings.
      We need our cops.
      We need our pool.
      We need our art.
      We need out trails.
      We need our recreation.
      We need our transportation.

    • MoMoney October 17, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

      They also changed it to the same night as the Water Board meeting, where they’ll be discussing their own settlement. The council should have scheduled all their meetings during the world series games and the super bowl, then no one would show up. How conveeeeenient.

      • Controlled Meetings October 18, 2012 at 5:44 am #

        Ah, yes. Meetings. Clever the In-group is with their meetings. Along with strict adherence to parliamentary procedure, other measures of totally controlling the meetings are used.

        The meetings are dull and boring. They begin the meetings with an open form. Citizens are allowed to express complaints and ask questions of the councilmen.Citizens attend with complaints, which they demand to be heard.
        They are allowed to talk for a standard time set for everyone like three minutes and are not allowed to speak again. The council takes whatever complaints have been made under advisement and says it will get back with the citizen later. Later can mean forever.

        When the In-group asks for a legal opinion, and wants the opinion to favor a position of the group, the opinion can be given with a weasel clause included in the opinion. This clause will state something to the effect the lawyer or development firm is not liable if this opinion is proven wrong.

        And the only professional criteria required from the council is that they received the most votes.

  3. MJA October 17, 2012 at 8:36 am #

    …and, how much would you have payed for a condo with a view of a hanger out in the middle of a crosswind runway with jets flying in to rattle your windows at breakfast? I wonder if a chairlift was also planned to get people from the Ballas Palace to the MMSA? His whole development deal was a scam, don’t you think? And he won?


    • Roger Rilling October 18, 2012 at 9:10 pm #

      MJA- Reference my comment above.

    • OntheRopes October 18, 2012 at 11:12 pm #

      Booooooooooring. Again, time to move on, MJA. The deal is done.

      • Time for Grand Jury October 19, 2012 at 5:16 am #

        Yes, the deal in done Ontheropes, but the graft and malfeasance as to how the deal (taxpayers getting screwed again) was accomplished and who ends up smelling like a rose must be examined.
        Time for a Grand Jury investigation or the corruption in this town will NEVER stop.

        • Functions of a Grand Jury October 19, 2012 at 10:44 am #

          The Mono County Grand Jury is empowered to act in two basic areas:

          1. To investigate aspects of local government, including county government, elected officials, incorporated cities, redevelopment agencies, service districts, special districts, prisons, joint powers agencies, LAFCO, and non-profit agencies which receive public monies.

          2. To bring formal accusations against public officials for willful misconduct or corruption in office. Such accusations can lead to removal from office.
          Although the responsibilities of a juror are many and diverse, the two predominant functions include performing “watchdog” responsibilities and handling citizens’ complaints.

          The major function of the Mono County Grand Jury is to examine county and town government and special districts to ensure that their duties are being lawfully carried out. The Grand Jury reviews and evaluates procedures, methods, and systems utilized by these entities to determine whether more efficient and economical programs may be employed. The Grand Jury is also authorized to:

          Inspect and audit books, records, and financial expenditures to ensure that public funds are properly accounted for and legally spent;

          Inspect financial records of special districts in Mono County;

          Examine the books and records of any nonprofit organization receiving county or city funds;

          Inquire into the conditions of jails and detention centers; and

          Inquire into any charges of willful misconduct in office by public officials or employees.

          What are you waiting for Citizens of Mammoth Lakes?

  4. MJA October 17, 2012 at 8:25 am #

    If Mammoth unincorporated or dissolved the corporation would that dissolve or resolve the unjust debt to Ballas? Perhaps there is another Way out of this airport condo mess.


    • concerned October 17, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

      I agree. The move to settle was a little too soon for me. If we were going to get stuck with the bill in the long run either way, then should have fought more on the lawsuit. i would like to know more about the breach of contract and how it affected Ballas and his pay day. They made out like bandits. Nice work!

    • Mark October 17, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

      MJA – unjust; Still beating that dead horse?

      TOML was sued and lost, appealed and lost again. If they keep going the directions they’re headed they’ll be sued again, and very well might loose again.

    • Roger Rilling October 18, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

      MJA– Same old lack of knowledge– Ballas and MLLA- were never the cause of our problems. To simplify the situation– what Mammoth did was ask two dates to the Prom– now they are suprised when the first date is upset.

  5. Cronyism revealed October 17, 2012 at 5:43 am #

    Shady elected officials with self-grasping attitudes always look for stooges to continue their shady business dealings. This sounds like good-ol’-boy cronyism BS gone bad to me. Why was no extensive job search held? Why two expensive town managers and discussions of downsizing everything else?

    • Town Manager/Delegator October 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

      So the criteria for a good manager of this town is the ability to delegate all the duties to the other town manager?
      I want to be town manager.
      I’ll do it for peanuts.

  6. Big Rick OB October 17, 2012 at 4:18 am #

    I would absolutely LOVE to spend an entire day with either of these Town Managers and follow their every move,every minute, just to see what exactly it is that they (do) to earn these extraordinary salaries & benefits. I’d be willing to bet that their subordinates do 90% of whatever it is that they claim that THEY do.

    • Mark October 17, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

      They’d never allow it.

      However CEO of MMSA made that very offer on the MMSA website forum.

  7. cl October 16, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

    Ok fine, how about Carlsbad, CA gorgeous coastal city. population approximately 108k. Town manager wage there. $217k. These numbers are still not working for me

  8. OntheRopes October 16, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

    The Council’s mistake was aggressively courting Wilbrecht, instead of actually trying to find a competent candidate, who (gasp!) has experience beyond Mono County’s tiny pond, and who might actually be in the job for the long haul. Instead, the “deal” they made was giving Dave whatever salary and benefits he asked for (like that $500 car allowance), and making sure we have yet another in a long line of revolving door Town Managers. Others who commented are right…MMM is a fly-by-night resume builder who has no interest in or respect for this community. This process is just a numbers game for her, and a countdown to how quickly she can leave for her next, more lucrative City Manager job.

    • upthecreek October 17, 2012 at 10:12 am #

      @on the ropes..

      It’s all about the Pension Ponzi game.. Work up your pay to the grand finale of paychecks.
      Retire at 50-55 with a Mother load of a pension and laugh all the way to the bank
      Poor Poor Taxpayers..
      They don’t have a clue…YET

      Govt Gone Wild

  9. Steve October 16, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

    They get paid way too much to live in Mammoth. It’s a trade off to live in paradise. Too bad our town is run by flatlanders who are NOT LOCALS. Mammoth Morons from the City.

    • Well alrighty then October 17, 2012 at 9:54 am #

      I agree with you Steve. Ihate when folks say it used to be, but here I go. It used to be that you traded and sacrificed certain things to have our way of life. You gave up high wages and chances of advancement because you wanted to breathe and you wanted your family to be safe. When did folks start saying “I WANNA MAKE A BUTTLOAD OF MONEY, I THINK I WILL MOVE TO MONO COUNTY” How did that happen?

    • Mark October 17, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

      In California we are all flatlanders. Mammoth is an extension of Southern California.

      Get off your high horse Steve

  10. Numbers October 16, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

    Sierragal i think you have it backwards, Hesperia should offer high compensation to attract someone qualified, Mammoth is such an amazing place to live, im sure we could find many hard working qualified professionals for half the pay. What irks me most about these compensation numbers is MMMs perk of a town owned condo. As townspeople we own a condo, and the best use we have for it is temp housing for a high paid executive? Why don’t we at least charge a little rent? Most of us make far less and pay a large chunk of our income on housing, a sacrafice we aknowledge to live somewhere amazing.

    • Citizen-Mammoth Lakes October 16, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

      I’m not going to speak to MMM’s housing, but what is the cost of living in Hisperia?

      If you want to attract professional employees, you’re going to have to pay more due to the cost of living. Unless of course, you want snowboarders or ski bumbs to run your town.

      • Numbers October 16, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

        Right, which is why i dont have a huge problem with the high salaries, but subsidized housing by the townsfolk for MMM makes me a little bit sick.

      • upthecreek October 17, 2012 at 10:06 am #

        they would probably do a better job.


  11. CL October 16, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    Here’s an interesting thought, Hesperia, CA a few hours south of Mammoth, has a population of around 88k, and their city manager makes $208,000 for 2011. Why the F does our town manager make $311,000???

    • Benett Kessler October 16, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

      The $311,000 figures does include base pay of $199,000 and benefits of $112,000. BK

      • Benefits breakdown? October 16, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

        What would the makeup of that $112,000 in benefits be?

        • Benett Kessler October 16, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

          I don’t have the specifics yet but Wilbrecht said they are “common to management employees” such as holidays off, vacation leave accrual, sick leave accrual, administrative leave in lieu of overtime, life insurance, a vehicle stipend. I will get more specifics. Benett

          • MoMoney October 16, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

            A vehicle stipend is not typical for management employees. He and MMM are the only ones that get one. It would make sense to have a vehicle stipend if you’re driving your personal vehicle all over the County, but Mr. Wilbrecht is not anymore (and I doubt he was at the County either). Maybe that money would be better spent training him on the impacts of the accidental “reply all.”

          • Perks, perks, and more perks October 17, 2012 at 7:51 am #

            Do you know anything about a housing allowance for MMM when she is in town?

          • Benett Kessler October 17, 2012 at 11:19 am #

            She has free use of a town-owned condo.

          • Mark October 17, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

            just because it’s common place doesn’t make it right

    • sierragrl October 16, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

      would you want to live in Hesperia? While cutting salaries and benefits sounds attractive, the reality is if you want qualified and quality people to take the positions in our area, you do have to pay competitive wages. Being as trim as possible, position wise,is smarter then having non-competitive wages and getting crap people. We may not like it, but they do actually have responsibilities and have to have knowledge and experience.

      • Mark October 16, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

        I’d say the voters got what they needed; an expensive education.

      • MoMoney October 16, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

        Ps. they both make more than the governor.

      • Well alrighty then October 17, 2012 at 9:51 am #

        Look what competitive wages got the town so far

      • Big AL October 17, 2012 at 11:59 pm #

        I think sierragrl is on the right track, when it comes to employee wages and managerial wages, you get what you pay for .. if you offer lower wages … pretty much. The people with more knowledge are going to choose employers who are willing to pay them a little more their knowledge an or experience.

        As far as the TC is concerned, the same could apply there as well .. but if these people .. like any other positions can cut the mustard, then send em packin, like some who are there now.

        Start over with a fresh set of council members, if the they can’t cut it .. send em packin, hire some more .. and so on …. Soon, the accountability will kick in, because the free ride will be over.

  12. concerned October 16, 2012 at 10:45 am #

    More importantly, a local citizen who has a personal and financial investment in the towns future would be a better candidate when appointing to such positions.

  13. CL October 16, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    Holy **** are you kidding me? 6 figure salaries. There’s a lot of good comments on this post, these jerks have got to go. Kudos to MoMoney’s post, very well written. I am sickened!

    • MoMoney October 16, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

      thank you. p.s. I meant to say that Town Manager #1 gets $500 per MONTH car allowance. Town Manager #2 get free housing and all her bills paid while she is here. The Town also pays for her travel expenses back and forth to So. Cal. Must be nice!

  14. concerned October 16, 2012 at 10:18 am #

    In life, there are no dress rehearsals. Mammoth is not a training grounds for practice management. Nor should it be treated as such. A Town Manager should reside and have an interest in the betterment of it’s town, not it’s pocket book.

    • Grand Jury time October 16, 2012 at 11:23 am #

      And how do you go about getting an elected official FIRED by the other elected officials?
      Aint gonna happen.
      John Eastman one tried to pull a fast one, and use his influence to find a relative work.
      Isn’t that Malfeasance?
      And there he remains.
      It’s Grand Jury time.

  15. concerned October 16, 2012 at 10:14 am #

    Last time I checked, doing a poor job managing is grounds for dismissal.

  16. Well-being of Mammoth October 16, 2012 at 9:06 am #

    What is bothersome for me, more so even than the top-heavy management, is that MMM is not a member of this community and as far as I can see has no plans to become a citizen of Mammoth Lakes. To have someone who’s family and home all reside in Pasadena(?) driving long-term impacts to our Town, that she’ll never have to live with is worrisome to say the least. Her sole goal is to crunch numbers and solve the mathematical problem at hand. MMM has no long-term investment with how those figures impact the livability of Mammoth over the next 23 years. She’ll be long gone while my family and me, along with my fellow Mammoth Residents will be here grappling with how to put Humpty Dumpty together again. Yes, there’s an online survey (inconvenient to the multitude of folks without internet access/computers) but ultimately we’ll never know what’s being cooked-up with those surveys to support her math.

  17. Grand Jury Intervention October 16, 2012 at 5:25 am #

    Steve, here is the website for Grand Jury intervention.
    On it you will find a complaint form.

  18. Nancy Backerman October 16, 2012 at 12:32 am #

    What a sweet deal for MMM – why wouldn’t she be interested in staying with that compensation package. The town sends out a survey, asks for the public to respond and now that the public has responded, the town officials don’t seem to like what they’re hearing in regards to where people would like to see cuts. Clearly, it’s not in the police department. Citizens should be upset with the ridiculously high salaries being paid these two top town management officials. Wasn’t the previous assistant town manager fired a couple years ago to save money, only to be replaced by MMM at an even higher cost.

    • MMM uncovered something October 16, 2012 at 10:48 am #

      MMM was allowed into that private club that runs things from behind closed doors, and some of those responsible for the whole mess are still calling the shots. As MMM is an accountant rather than a manager, she was allowed to look deeply into the books of our town. One can only imagine WTF has been going on behind those closed doors.
      My guess is that she more than likely has the goods on SOMEBODY (come on, do you really think everybody’s hands are clean on this?) and can now write her own ticket.

      A Grand Jury investigation is the only thing that can be done about it now as elected officials can do whatever they want and spin it in any way they want.

  19. Steve October 15, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

    they are both overpaid… stand up people and demand that this STOP NOW.

  20. concerned October 15, 2012 at 7:38 pm #

    Town management IS top heavy. While they sit in their ivory towers making decision that affect the lives of the towns people in Mammoth, they reap financial benefit. Never once offering to take pay cuts. Greed.

    • concerned October 15, 2012 at 7:46 pm #

      MoMoney…beautifully said!

  21. MoMoney October 15, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

    The Tale of TWO Town Managers! Where one is just counting down the days till retirement, spiking his pension, taking off as much vacation time as possible, and pocketing his rich benefit package (including $500 car allowance for all the wear and tear he puts on his car driving the 2 miles to “work” everyday). And the other, who is busy building her resume, jumping from city to city, selling herself as the “financial genius,” who “runs a tight ship,” and “does the work of three people.” She touts her vast experience (if by experience you mean, canoodling with your boss and then marrying him, then yes, MMM, you have a lot of experience) and showers her condescension on the lowly (her opinion) town’s people of Mammoth Lakes. These TWO Town Managers are “managing” Mammoth Lakes “out of the frying pan” and into the fiery pits of hell. The Town Council endlessly sings the praises of their TWO Town Managers because they don’t want to admit to their own short-sighted and faulty decisions (sound familiar?) to hire them. I say the people of Mammoth deserve better, both from their Town management, and their Town Council. Sack them all.

  22. Sean F October 15, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

    “Wood said that he has received emails from former police officers who support the police cuts”

    Really? “emails” as in more than one? I have to call BS. Let see these emails.


    “He also pointed to 35 students in the reserve class at Cerro Coso”.

    Have they graduated? Are they qualified? Have they had psychological and medical testing yet? Have they had background checks done on them? Have they even graduated yet? Or is it simply a case of the students enrolled themselves in a community college class? Talk about counting your chickens before they hatched.

    Cut more managers instead of beat cops!

    • concerned October 15, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

      Wood and the other council members who claim that ALL their positions are necessary never offered to reduce their own salaries. Interesting.

      • concerned October 15, 2012 at 8:35 pm #

        Nothing like skirting the issue.

  23. Hasta la vista! October 15, 2012 at 5:38 pm #

    Pretty simple really, one manager is under contract till March and the others is up. $311,000 down, 1.7 million to go. Let’s see how fast town management moves now in the efforts to restructure and save money.


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