Town Manager Marianna Marysheva-Martinez

Town Manager Marianna Marysheva-Martinez

Three more critical employees have left their jobs with Town of Mammoth Lakes government, morale has sunk and some say they fear the new Town Manager and her style. Marianna Marysheva-Martinez has sent workers two memos that speak to some of their fears.

The Town Council voted to appoint Marysheva-Martinez to the spot of Town Manager after they accepted former manager Dave Wilbrecht’s resignation. As the town government’s woes string on like a painful soap opera, some workers whose positions were eliminated on a recommendation from Martinez point to what they feel is a heartless management style.

Asked about this, Martinez said no one has brought this to her attention. She said, “I communicate very directly. Sometimes people don’t like that.” She pointed out that the Town Council hired her to deal with specific items – the Hot Creek lawsuit, bankruptcy and re-structuring. Marysheva-Martinez said she was not hired to manage people. She said, “This has not been my responsibility to engage in employee morale management. Now,” said Martinez, “it is my job. I see that morale is low, and, together, we have to fix it.”

The new Town Manager, who officially takes over Thursday, said the whole situation in Town government has scared people. She said when there is stress like this it has emotional, physical and uncertainty impacts. Most of the time, she said, it’s negative and people see no hope. Martinez said, “The role of the Town Manager and the town leadership is to help show hope. I think I’m good at that,” she said. “I see the positive.” She compared Mammoth to a surgery patient. She said when the surgery is done, recovery is next.

To the fact that her base home and family are in Pasadena, not Mammoth Lakes, Martinez said she does care about the Mammoth community. “If I didn’t care,” she said, “I wouldn’t have sacrificed time with my family. My commitment is to this Town.”

Martinez shared two memos she recently sent to the Town staff. The first memo addressed plans to fill critical vacancies. Human Resources/ Risk Manager Robin Picken now works for the City of Bishop. Community and Economic Development Supervisor Ellen Clark has left and so has Grants Analyst Karen Sibert. Martinez shared short-term and long-term plans to handle the vacancies.

The second memo is entitled “Employee Morale: What we can and will do to improve and sustain it.” In the memo, Marysheva-Martinez said she sees that employee morale is “dangerously low.” She says she has made it a high priority to improve it. The new Town Manager asks for help and support from workers. Her ideas range from filling critical vacancies to more meetings with workers and more communication with local media.


February 7, 2013


Dear Town staff –

Yesterday, I presented to the Town Council a plan to fill critical vacancies within our organization. The Council recognizes the hard work that all of you do, and that any vacancies put yet an additional strain on the already over-stretched organization. The Council enthusiastically supported the plan to fill the vacancies that is outlined below, and encouraged me to implement it as soon as possible. I will make it a high priority to ensure that we have additional help.

I wanted you to be aware of the steps that will be taken to fill the critical vacancies. Please let me know if you have any question or concerns. You can contact me directly, by calling extension 228, emailing me at [email protected], stopping by my office, or relaying your feedback through Pam Kobylarz at extension 223 or [email protected].

Thank you all –

Marianna Marysheva-Martinez

Plan to fill critical vacancies 

All recommended changes are budget-neutral, use savings from vacancies and do not result in additional unbudgeted expenses.

  1. HR / Risk Manager position (vacated by Robin Picken)
    1. Short-Term (February-June): Fill the position on a temporary basis, by reaching out to Sierra Employment and Intellibridge Partners, and placing for temporary help ads in local papers and professional publications.
    2. Long-Term (beginning July 2013):  Explore the possibility of establishing a regional HR department, which would have both the HR manager and other positions, and provide services to the Town and other local government entities. Advertise and fill the job by July 1, 2013.
  2. CED Supervisor position (vacated by Ellen Clark)
    1. Short-Term (February-June): Assign Senior Planner Sandra Moberly as an acting manager. Hire a temporary employee to assist with TOT compliance responsibilities full-time; re-assign TOT responsibilities from Sandra to the new temp. Engage a consultant to work on specific planning projects at 10-15 hours per week.
    2. Long-Term (beginning July 2013):  Recommend to the Town Council for approval in February-March a permanent organizational structure for the CED department, to address TOT compliance, Economic Development and department management. Upon Town Council approval, advertise and fill new positions by July 1, 2013.
  3. Grants / CIP Analyst (vacated by Karen Sibert)
    1. Short-Term (February-June): Hire a temporary employee to backfill Karen Sibert’s responsibilities. Hire an additional temporary employee for three months (March-May 2013) to lead the FY 13-14 budget preparation process.
    2. Long-Term (beginning July 2013):  Recommend to the Town Council for approval in February-March a permanent organizational structure for the Town Manager and Finance departments. Upon Town Council approval, advertise and fill new positions by July 1, 2013.

Copies: Town Council

February 10, 2013

Town of Mammoth Lakes, California Office of the Town Manager (760) 934-8989, extension 223


Dear Town staff –

I have observed that employee morale in our organization is dangerously low. I have made it a high priority to improve it. But I cannot do it myself: I will need your help, support and participation. I have outlined below my thoughts on the steps that, in my opinion, will help us tackle the issue. I hope to get your feedback with regards to these ideas.

You can contact me directly, by calling extension 228, emailing me at [email protected], or stopping by my office. You can relay your feedback through Pam Kobylarz at extension 223 or [email protected]. You can also express your thoughts during Employee Open Forums, one-on-one meetings with me (these are coming up), or any other way that best suits your communication style. No matter how you choose to provide feedback, I do ask that you please comment.

Thank you all – Marianna Marysheva-Martinez

Ideas on Improving and Sustaining Employee Morale

1. Fill critical vacancies. (See email dated February 7, 2013.) 2. Continue regular updates to all employees on critical issues and developments. 3. Develop a monthly employee newsletter. 4. Engage a team (currently of two) to recommend initiatives to engage employees, such as employee

appreciation events. 5. Continue open forums with all employees, but make them meaningful for employees to engage in a

dialogue. 6. Hold monthly meeting with employee associations; invite managers and Town Council. 7. Set aside one afternoon a month for one-on-one meetings of the Town Manager and individual

employees. 8. Actively inform and educate the public about innovative, creative, progressive projects; what Town

employees do; our accomplishments, etc.: • Send out press releases. (The first one has gone out, from the Police Department.) • Create and regularly update an online list of innovative, creative, progressive projects

completed by departments. • Post online a log of Town Council assignments with status. Refer to it at every Town Council

meeting, under departmental reports. • Possibly profile individual Town employees at council meetings, online, etc. • Engage in regular media briefings and round-table discussions.

9. Set aside funding for employee appreciation / recognition.


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