Town Council comments on most recent upset

mltc8_6_13With several years of the upsetting airport lawsuit, a $30 million judgment, and countless closed sessions over the issue, citizens of Mammoth Lakes just want an even deck to walk on and clarity when it comes to Town government. So the sudden resignation of the Town Manager did not sit well with many. It amounted to one more major change with no explanation.

The discussions that led up to the departure of Manager Marianna Marysheva-Martinez took place behind closed doors. Citizens slammed the Town Council with criticisms of lack of open government. Sierra Wave spoke with Town Attorney Andrew Morris about this.

He said the Brown Act which governs closed sessions “allows personnel matters to be dealt with in closed session. There are good reasons,” said Morris. He said talking in public about employee matters could lead to legal risks and could violate the employee’s right to privacy. Morris said of the Council’s handling of the Town Manager, “There is no conspiracy. They do want to be transparent, but sometimes they can’t be.”  He also said, “Personnel matters are often quite sensitive, may involve delicate negotiations, and the affected employees may wish to have some privacy.   As a result, it’s usually not a good idea for the Council or staff to discuss personnel matters in detail with the public or the media.  The Council isn’t trying to avoid transparency, they’re just trying not to disclose things that are better left confidential.”

We placed calls to all members of the Council. They all returned our calls except Council member Jo Bacon. Our sources tell us that Wood, Eastman and Bacon were supportive of the Town Manager leaving and Lehman and Raimondo wanted her to stay. The question to all of them – what can you tell us about the resignation of Manager Martinez?

Councilman John Eastman said, “Not much. I would say I can’t speak to her resignation.” He said Martinez is a “very bright lady”, and he suspects she will be at work with someone else soon. Eastman maintained that the law prohibits the Council from openly revealing everything about employee matters. He said he is “really excited about moving forward.” Was he ready to appoint Tom Cage as Town Manager? Eastman said he had not made that decision. He said it was someone not on the Town Council who made the proposal.

Mayor Rick Wood had talked to us earlier and said he did not think Manager Martinez was the right person to lead the Town from this point forward. He declined to say more except that the Council is “bound by secrecy.”

Councilman Matthew Lehman said he did not want Martinez to leave. Said Lehman, “I was in favor of her being the manager.” He said the Town will live but that the community has been through a lot. Lehman said Martinez did a fine job. Based on legal advice, Lehman said he could not reveal more.

Since he was out of the area, Councilman Michael Raimondo emailed a response to our question. He said, “The only thing I can share is that I was very supportive of keeping Marianna as our town manager and personally feel it is a big loss to the community losing her. I think she did a great job!”

Town Attorney Morris did say if Ms. Martinez wanted to talk about her situation, she could. However, she has not responded to our phone calls or emails.


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14 Responses to Town Council comments on most recent upset

  1. Realist September 17, 2013 at 11:04 pm #

    Just talked to 25 Business owners in Mammoth in closed session. We decided that Mayor Rick Wood, John Eastman and Jo Bacon are NOT the right people to lead the Town from this point forward.

    We would like to call for their IMMEDIATE resignations.

    If you don’t resign now of your free will, we will write a letter in your permanent record that will follow you for the rest of your life’s.

  2. Wait Until the Election September 16, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

    A recall election is a stupid idea. Two of the three council people some want recalled are up for reelection in June. Recalls are expensive, for both sides, divisive, and take a long time. By the time you get the signatures on a recall petition and schedule a special election, it will be late winter or early spring. The key is finding qualified people to run. Those that are arguing for a recall should spend the time seeking out good people and convincing them to run in the next election. There are many people in this town that would be good on the council. Go get them.

    • h September 17, 2013 at 6:32 pm #

      I think the concern amongst the growing majority of the community is that no one wants Rick Wood, John Eastman, and Ms. silent in the background Bacon, to have input in “reshaping the Town” in their own image. There is no trust and confidence in these three individuals. They smirk and proclaim that they are excited about the future after basically getting caught with their hands in the cookie jar – and a majority of the community wants these three losers gone. If we wait until June 2014, then these three will continue to do more damage. Remember, they have gotten rid of anyone who has independent thought and an opinion – in an almost psychopath and systematic manner. June 2014 will be too late in the opinion of many.

      • Agreed September 18, 2013 at 6:47 am #

        My suspicion is that this all stems from something illegal or unethical that the Town Council wants to do with regards to the MRF – and they will keep chewing through Town Managers (and other staff) who refuse to do whatever it is that they want. Who were the three lead employees on the MRF project? Jarvis, Goetz, and MMM. Who isn’t there anymore? Jarvis, Goetz, and MMM. 3 skilled, honest, professional employees that left suddenly. If Eastman, Bacon, and Wood are allowed to continue, they will eventually find a stooge to do their bidding and there will be no turning back on the MRF. The taxpayers will be stuck – again. What are they hiding? An outside attorney’s time would be better spent following the money trail, Brown Act violations, and conflict-of-interest issues.

  3. poke the Monkeys September 16, 2013 at 11:43 am #

    “they’re just trying not to disclose things that are better left confidential.”

    better left confidential for whom?

    3M is a professional I doubt she’ll ever say anything publicly. And you’re damn right she’ll get another job soon.

    • Shine September 16, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

      Interesting that town attorney did not say “…they are not disclosing things required to be left confidential.”

      More interesting is Mayor saying “bound by SECRECY” and not “bound by confidentiality”. You would think they might be smart enough to have a script memorized. Guess they are too inept to even get a decent shyster.

      • Desert Tortoise September 17, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

        Open your mouth in public on a confidential personnel matter involving one of your employees and see how fast a subpoena can be issued and lawsuits filed. As a manager at several firms all I could ever tell someone who was considering hiring someone I let go or who quit was that, yes, they worked for my employer and the dates. I could never characterize their work in any way fearing my employer would be slapped with a lawsuit. That is true of both government and private employers. Negative characterizations are simply not done.

      • Down the creek September 17, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

        I propose we rename the town ” SHYSTER VILLE “. In honor of the millions of dollars that has been lost by the inept and unqualified town councils that sold us out to put a buck in their pockets.

      • Steve September 17, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

        Glad I’m not the only one who noticed that…

  4. skijohn September 16, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    What a joke. Eastman, Wood and Bacon need to go. I love how they claim they have to honor the law with keeping these closed session meetings private, yet as soon as they leave the meeting everything is leaked to the press. Of course MMM resigned after hearing they were discussing firing her. She had no choice but to quit, otherwise she’d never be hired again elsewhere. Wood and Eastman knew that, so they leaked it to the press to force her to quit. And what did Wood promise, Jo, exactly? She was always a fan of MMM until Wood pulled her aside. Well, their time is coming to an end because a group of business men in town just hired an attorney to move forward with a recall. I’ll be the first to sign that! Now we just need to find good people to replace them.

    • Desert Tortoise September 16, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

      Do not assume a group of businessmen (and no business women? really?) moving “forward” necessarily makes anything better for the average citizen. They are only interested in protecting their property and their profitability. Their loyalty is to their bank accounts and seldom if ever to the community they live in.

      • SkiJohn September 16, 2013 at 6:56 pm #

        Oops, Desert Tortoise, that was an oversight. There are actually a few woman involved, too. I agree with you that everyone has their own agendas, but frankly, I welcome it if it means getting rid of those 3 people who have run our town so poorly for years. The key is finding new people with good intentions to run.

        • Desert Tortoise September 17, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

          Don’t be naive. If they are going to spend their hard earned and invest some sweat equity, they will expect something in return.

  5. SierraFan September 16, 2013 at 9:33 am #

    BLAH BLAH BLAH… same old! We all know that you can not speak about the status of a town employee above what you have done, it’s the fact that the narcissistic approach that a few (we all know who they are) the TC has. Hopefully Raimondo and Lehman will be leading this council with 3 different and better choices than what we have now. It’s truly a shame that we lost a tough leader like MMM. I guess the 3/5’s didn’t really like the truth to be told. Monkey’s could make better decisions… clearly!


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