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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concerned
concerned
9 years ago

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
Mark
9 years ago
Reply to  concerned

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

You’re dead on right

quietstorm
quietstorm
9 years ago

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 –… Read more »

Mark
Mark
9 years ago
Reply to  quietstorm

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

Touche!

Where is the petition?
Where is the petition?
9 years ago
Reply to  quietstorm

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… Read more »

MoMoney
MoMoney
9 years ago
Reply to  quietstorm

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
Controlled Meetings
9 years ago
Reply to  MoMoney

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… Read more »

MJA
MJA
9 years ago

…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… Read more »

Roger Rilling
Roger Rilling
9 years ago
Reply to  MJA

MJA- Reference my comment above.

OntheRopes
OntheRopes
9 years ago
Reply to  MJA

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

Time for Grand Jury
Time for Grand Jury
9 years ago
Reply to  OntheRopes

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
Functions of a Grand Jury
9 years ago

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… Read more »

MJA
MJA
9 years ago

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
concerned
9 years ago
Reply to  MJA

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… Read more »

Mark
Mark
9 years ago
Reply to  MJA

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
Roger Rilling
9 years ago
Reply to  MJA

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.

Cronyism revealed
Cronyism revealed
9 years ago

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
Town Manager/Delegator
9 years ago

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.

Big Rick OB
Big Rick OB
9 years ago

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… Read more »

Mark
Mark
9 years ago
Reply to  Big Rick OB

They’d never allow it.

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

cl
cl
9 years ago

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

OntheRopes
OntheRopes
9 years ago

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… Read more »

upthecreek
upthecreek
9 years ago
Reply to  OntheRopes

@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

Steve
Steve
9 years ago

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
Well alrighty then
9 years ago
Reply to  Steve

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… Read more »

Mark
Mark
9 years ago
Reply to  Steve

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

Get off your high horse Steve

Numbers
Numbers
9 years ago

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… Read more »

Citizen-Mammoth Lakes
Citizen-Mammoth Lakes
9 years ago
Reply to  Numbers

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
Numbers
9 years ago

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
upthecreek
9 years ago

they would probably do a better job.

GGW

CL
CL
9 years ago

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
Benett Kessler
9 years ago
Reply to  CL

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

Benefits breakdown?
Benefits breakdown?
9 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

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

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago

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
MoMoney
9 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

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… Read more »

Perks, perks, and more perks
Perks, perks, and more perks
9 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

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

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago

She has free use of a town-owned condo.
BK

Mark
Mark
9 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

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

sierragrl
sierragrl
9 years ago
Reply to  CL

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… Read more »

Mark
Mark
9 years ago
Reply to  sierragrl

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

MoMoney
MoMoney
9 years ago
Reply to  sierragrl

Ps. they both make more than the governor.

Well alrighty then
Well alrighty then
9 years ago
Reply to  sierragrl

Look what competitive wages got the town so far

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago
Reply to  sierragrl

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… Read more »

concerned
concerned
9 years ago

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.

CL
CL
9 years ago

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
MoMoney
9 years ago
Reply to  CL

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!

concerned
concerned
9 years ago

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
Grand Jury time
9 years ago
Reply to  concerned

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.

concerned
concerned
9 years ago

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

Well-being of Mammoth
Well-being of Mammoth
9 years ago

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(?)… Read more »

Another Bell scandal?
Another Bell scandal?
9 years ago

I think it’s time to study the Bell, California scandal:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_Bell_scandal

Grand Jury Intervention
Grand Jury Intervention
9 years ago

Steve, here is the website for Grand Jury intervention.
On it you will find a complaint form.
http://www.monocourt.org/grand_jury_history.htm

Nancy Backerman
Nancy Backerman
9 years ago

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… Read more »

MMM uncovered something
MMM uncovered something
9 years ago

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… Read more »

Steve
Steve
9 years ago

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

concerned
concerned
9 years ago

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
concerned
9 years ago
Reply to  concerned

MoMoney…beautifully said!

MoMoney
MoMoney
9 years ago

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… Read more »

Sean F
Sean F
9 years ago

“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. and “He also pointed to 35 students in the reserve class at Cerro Coso”. Have they graduated? Are… Read more »

concerned
concerned
9 years ago
Reply to  Sean F

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

concerned
concerned
9 years ago
Reply to  concerned

Nothing like skirting the issue.

Hasta la vista!
Hasta la vista!
9 years ago

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.