Town attorney explains silence on town manager

Town Attorney Andrew Morris

Town Attorney Andrew Morris

Some citizens have pointed accusing fingers at the Mammoth Town Council for failure to disclose what’s going on with Town Manager Dave Wilbrecht, who is on administrative leave and the subject of a series of closed sessions. Town Attorney Andy Morris said that legally there is not much officials can say.

Sierra Wave Media asked Morris if he could comment on Wilbrecht’s status right now. Morris said he could not. We asked Morris to comment on why Town Manager Wilbrecht was placed on administrative leave. Morris’s response – no comment. He had the same response when asked if there were anything else he could disclose. Morris explained that if issues are personnel matters, he can not comment, and if something unfolds in a closed session, he can not comment.

This matter of intense interest by the public is legally confidential. Morris did say that if action is taken in closed session, it must be reported out. The Town Attorney said, “Until then, there’s not much I can say.” The same legal rules apply to members of the Town Council.

Mammoth Town government continues to shudder with the waves of repercussions from the Hot Creek lawsuit, the judgment of $30 million against the Town and complex and costly negotiations that led to a settlement – $2 million per year to Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition for the next 23 years. Other budget problems added to that huge expense led to personnel cuts that left many departments cut in half or nearly so.

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what next
what next
8 years ago

I hope that these closed sessions are not about Salaries or reduction there to. That is a not a authorized reason for closed sessions. Also reading the Brown act guide, the council is treading on thin ice. It appears that the whole purpose of conducting closed session for employee situations… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
8 years ago
Reply to  what next

Dear What Next,

The Council has to list topics for discussion on its closed session agenda. They have done that and nothing more.
As their lawyer said, the Council can not disclose the details of the closed session discussions.
BK

what next
what next
8 years ago

Benett: Mayor Lehman cannot recall when Wilbrect was put on administrative leave. I understand the need for privacy here. But at what point do we have the right to know what wrongdoing has been done? I seriously doubt this is about vacations. If It were how could Wilbrect do anything… Read more »

Eastern Sierra Local
Eastern Sierra Local
8 years ago

While not saying specifically what the issue are it seems readily apparent that Mr. Wilbrecht is on administrative leave for personnel issues.

Doing what he's told to do
Doing what he's told to do
8 years ago

Seems to me the obvious reason Mr. Wilbrecht is on administrative leave, is that he was commanded to do so by the Town Council. And now we get to hear from Lehman –
“We don’t know what to do with the town manager.”
Can you say, “Something stinks here” ?

J.J.
J.J.
8 years ago

Who? Dave? Dave’s not here, he’s packing his golden parachute!

Public Humiliation
Public Humiliation
8 years ago

Don’t expect our wonderful town counsel to announce a thing. They’ve already made too many erroneous announcements including a public agendized item that suggests “disciplinary action of a public employee” and Lehman callously saying “We don’t know what we’re going to do with Dave” not giving a damn how Dave’s… Read more »

agenemnon
agenemnon
8 years ago

what are They attempting to cover up??

agenemnon
agenemnon
8 years ago

what are They attempting to cover up??

Observer
Observer
8 years ago

It seems like announcements are made officially announcing if and when someone working in local government is placed on administrative leave. Why not an on the record announcement or confirmation if this is the case (is it?) with Wilbrecht?

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
8 years ago
Reply to  Observer

Yes. He is on administrative leave. Mayor Lehman said he could not recall the exact date.
BK

Memory loss?
Memory loss?
8 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

It is highly unlikely that Lehman could recall anything in yet another travesty from the totally inept town counsel.

From wikipedia
From wikipedia
8 years ago
Reply to  Observer

At-will employment is a doctrine of American law that defines an employment relationship in which either party can immediately terminate the relationship at any time with or without any advance warning, and with no subsequent liability, provided there was no express contract for a definite term governing the employment relationship… Read more »