Letter to the editor: Town defines “crazy”

mariannamarysheva

Town Manager Marianna Marysheva-Martinez

Honorable Mayor Wood and Town Council:

In recent weeks you’ve had several discussions in closed session evaluating Town Manager Marianna Marysheva-Martinez, all while she’s been away on a family vacation and could not respond to your discussion. And now I understand you plan for a final closed session discussion/vote this Friday in another closed meeting during which you will likely dismiss her. Furthermore, word has it you also plan to replace her with a local businessman and personal friend to several of you, who arguably lacks qualifications or the appropriate experience for a job this critical. Could this really be true?

I am writing to you, as are other Town residents, to express considerable alarm and extreme disappointment if this is, in fact, your plan. I truly pray it isn’t, but if so, and in danger of appearing disrespectful, seriously, what are you thinking?! Or worse yet, secretly conspiring to do? All in closed sessions lacking transparency, ethical employment practices, or public understanding? As with my recent experience concerning other secretive Town plans, I’m wondering who you may really be working for, or in the interest of… ?

While possibly not directly related, it appears your current evaluations of Ms. Marysheva-Martinez’s job performance began following another recent closed session decision surrounding the Town’s hushed plan to purchase (with public funds) the Mammoth Firewood lot for Waste Connections Inc. to site/build a regional waste materials reclamation/processing facility (a.k.a. “materials recovery facility” or MRF) in the Industrial Park directly adjacent to recreational facilities and nearby homes. Disturbingly, this secreted plan has been driven by several council members and staff without public process or even basic public awareness. And while the closed session discussion to purchase the property resulted in “no action taken,” likely following a 2-2 vote with Mayor Wood abstaining, I expect this plan to be revisited soon, driven by continuing pressure from Waste Connections. And I think it’s possible you’re planning for a revived discussion and another secret vote once the Manager is dismissed, or maybe you’re even planning to hold this on a date when an opposing council member can’t participate… this wouldn’t surprise me given what I’ve already witnessed.

From my personal experience participating in Town meetings and directly communicating with the Town Manager regarding her predecessor’s plan with Waste Connections (as you’re aware, I’m a long-standing member of Mono County’s Solid Waste Task Force), I found Ms. Marysheva-Martinez to be very professional, extremely intelligent, driven, highly qualified, capable, and committed to ensuring an open public process for ongoing MRF planning. Above all, however, I found Ms. Marysheva-Martinez completely dedicated to straightening out the mess that is Mammoth’s government. Understanding this, I also know why some town staff, council and other influential locals who are/were part of that mess have continually persecuted her.

Since I moved back full time to Mammoth in late 1999, the Town has employed at least five town managers, with several spectacular, memorable failures, all hired by Town Council. How much has this revolving door truly cost the Town socially and financially through ineffective, distracted and questionable management (i.e., the airport decision), not to mention expensive severance packages?  Town Council must step aside and stop its habit of micro-managing, and instead allow the qualified person you hired to do the job an opportunity to really do it. Ms. Marysheva-Martinez was recruited when the Town desperately needed someone with proven experience and ability to guide us through impending bankruptcy. She did that and now we’re on the other side facing years of paying off a huge debt she had no part in incurring, while some of you did.  I also understand she likely upset a few of you by committing to a transparent, public process in future MRF planning.

In light of today’s historic date, I, too, ‘have a dream’ that our embryonic little town might actually evolve into something we’re all proud of. It has incredible potential, the reason many continue to live here and remain actively involved. Maybe it would be best if we stopped replacing town managers and instead replaced historic town council. The definition of “crazy” is understood as repeating the same thing and expecting different results. As it is, the Town appears as a poster child for this definition.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

With sincere concern for our town’s future,

Lisa Isaacs

Resident, Town of Mammoth Lakes

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42 Comments
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Mammothgal
Mammothgal
9 years ago

Lisa, One thing in your letter to the editor really struck a nerve with me, the proposed recycle center. Look into facts in regards to the “Housing/Recreational” area. The Industrial/Commercial center was planned and built before Trails and parks built there. The Industrial Center has a dump/coffee roasting/laundry cleaning/welding/auto repair… Read more »

Southern Cal attitude
Southern Cal attitude
9 years ago
Reply to  Mammothgal

Don’t ya just love it when certain types refer to a particular area as “The Ghetto?”

Where ya from, Mammothgal – Rodeo Drive?

Sean
Sean
9 years ago

Maybe she was cleaning house and now faces a mutiny. The few people I know who actually worked closely with her said her efforts had the effect of getting rid of dead wood and creating a better city government. A more smart and efficient city government. On the flip side… Read more »

Can't do anything about Union dead wood
Can't do anything about Union dead wood
9 years ago
Reply to  Sean

So why doesn’t both Leddy and MMM start cleaning house by getting rid of the dead wood that exists within The Union?

Cowardly Supes and Councilmen
Cowardly Supes and Councilmen
9 years ago

The Union has not even been approached to get rid of “dead wood” in both the town or county as other areas in California have. Both the town and the county are frightened to death of the big, bad union. So it’s the non-union chumps that will ultimately pay the… Read more »

Turtleneck
Turtleneck
9 years ago
Reply to  Sean

I don’t think most people would consider Johnny, Ray and most (though not all) of the others who left “dead wood.” In fact (as evidenced by the amount of dead wood still in place) it’s the talented employees, who have better prospects, who will leave. Not that departures don’t create… Read more »

It's about Morale, stupid
It's about Morale, stupid
9 years ago
Reply to  Sean

“Her job is not an easy one…” says Sean. With all due respect, how difficult can it be to talk down to everyone, delegate whatever you want to everyone, and if you are arrogant and abusive enough about it, your caustic style will eventually end in getting people fired or… Read more »

The interview process
The interview process
9 years ago
Reply to  Sean

Councilmen: “So, what can you do for us?” Town Manager Applicant: “I can save you a lot of money.” Councilmen: “And how do you propose pulling that off?” Town Manager Applicant: “Easy. Fire all the mediocre non-union employees, and put relentless pressure on the rest until all the weaker links… Read more »

JR
JR
9 years ago

You have got to be kidding, Right!?!? Lets see, theTown Council made some very poor decisions that led to a $42,000,000 lost lawsuit. Hired Marianna for the extremely challanging and unpopular task, as an Assistant Town Manager to clean up the financials, she did, check. Then after running off the… Read more »

Hatchet men
Hatchet men
9 years ago
Reply to  JR

Today’s “top-dog administrators” are nothing more than hatchet men.
They are hired to fire people. Period. And if they have no intention of living here, so much the better. That way they don’t have to run into those poor souls who got the axe at Von’s or the post office.

It's all about morale
It's all about morale
9 years ago
Reply to  JR

JR – You have no idea how bad the morale has become in the town and the county (except for the union people who aren’t sweating one bit). Both Leddy and MMM aren’t exactly the best replacements for long-term administrators such as Dave Wilbrecht, whom everybody respected and was known… Read more »

JR
JR
9 years ago

Morale, I do know how bad it was, has been, and what the potential is. Wilbrecht was great, no question. What happened to him? Hint.. The Council fired him! By all appearances, the Town is starting to turn around, but wait! Lets cause disruption again, by who? The Council, seeing… Read more »

Wait and see
Wait and see
9 years ago
Reply to  JR

Like MMM,
Get the two-year contract, pad the resume’ and it’s “I’m outta here!”
Mark my words.

I will wait
I will wait
9 years ago
Reply to  Wait and see

You do understand that people have to come from somewhere, right? Even your example of Dave Wilbrecht – Dave wasn’t born and raised here, he moved here and became part of the community. But you don’t seem to want to welcome anyone here. I’ve looked at the resume you’ve posted… Read more »

Human Nature
Human Nature
9 years ago
Reply to  JR

When you have no intention of living in the area you are supposed to be “managing” you develop a “I don’t really give a rat’s a**” attitude.

Mark
Mark
9 years ago

Looks like some stuff is about to hit the fan.

Living outside of TOML it’s fun to see what these morons will think of next

The people get the government they deserve

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago

Considering the constant drumbeat of dissatisfaction with MMM, the pointed derogatory references to her outsider status coming as she does from south of the San Gabriel Mountains and the series of high level resignations among city employees attributed to her claimed abrasive management style, I am surprised the population isn’t… Read more »

Wake UP!
Wake UP!
9 years ago

I had heard from a friend a week or so ago that the Job for an assistant Town Manager was posted on one of those private city government Job cites. This was unconfirmed. If true then I think there is some funny biz goings on here again.

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago
Reply to  Wake UP!

Rather than resort from “I heard from a friend a week or so ago”, find out for yourself and be able to criticize knowledgeably. Jobs in the public sector have to be posted for the public to read. If the job is promotional from within an organization, that must be… Read more »

H
H
9 years ago

Lisa, the only thing I disagree with your letter was the utilization of the word “honorable” before Rick Wood’s name and the Town Clowncil – but I understand that you have to be politically correct. The public should know that the stooge this Council is planning to appoint as Town… Read more »

Someone
Someone
9 years ago
Reply to  H

What exactly is the cancer in the Finance Department? The employees do the job set before them per State and Federal guidelines… What’s your beef?

Jack M
Jack M
9 years ago
Reply to  Someone

The cancer is employing people who don’t even have a high school education, making six figures a year who don’t even know how to create an Excel spreadsheet and spend half their day outside smoking. THAT is the cancer which I find appalling. MMM is spot on to clean house!

Mtn Man
Mtn Man
9 years ago
Reply to  Jack M

Don’t forget there are 2 employees that meet your description. The public would be in an uproar if they knew the percentage of tax payers money that goes to support smoking habits of these town employees. Whatever happened to two 15 minutes a break a day? Guess that doesn’t apply… Read more »

Agreed
Agreed
9 years ago
Reply to  H

That finance person has been whispering in Eastman’s ear about MMM. What he may not realize is that the same person trash-talks him and the rest of the Council all over town. Lather, rinse, repeat with Cage…or whoever is foolish enough to step in. Eastman is the leak of the… Read more »

Mtn Man
Mtn Man
9 years ago
Reply to  Agreed

Spot on Agreed!! Shouldn’t there be some type of action taken against the Town Council member(s) that leak closed session information?

Cyndi Myrold
Cyndi Myrold
9 years ago
Reply to  Mtn Man

For the public, John Eastman is my neighbor. We do talk, but he has never shared any information with me about closed sessions. As for my work ethics, my record working for the Town for over 14 years speaks for itself. We as a Town have gone from 120 full… Read more »

Nature of the Beast
Nature of the Beast
9 years ago

Lisa must not have been around when MMM was quoted as saying, “Mammoth Lakes needs more car washes and auto dealerships … stuff like that.” And this is the same person who gets paid a small fortune, unbelievable perks and doesn’t live here full time. Accept it folks. Just like… Read more »

Bemused
Bemused
9 years ago

N.O.B. Just nailed it…

Sad State of Affairs
Sad State of Affairs
9 years ago

Well written, Lisa. A few points for the Town Council to consider (although I agree completely with the “deaf ears” statement above!) * You have proven yourself unworthy of trust. If, as MMM said in an earlier report, you led her to believe that the closed sessions were about extending… Read more »

Keeping It Real
Keeping It Real
9 years ago

Why would Wood abstain? Just because he represents the Mr Cook who will benefit the most? Our mayor missed school the day they taught “CONFLICT OF INTEREST” and never looked back. Besides, Tom Cage has been telling everyone around town that he is already the new manager. “Done Deal”… Who… Read more »

Steve
Steve
9 years ago

Time for the lets get rid of Eastman drive

SierraFan
SierraFan
9 years ago

This letter couldn’t have been written any better! We need the town counsel to be dismissed well before a new town manager is thought of. MMM has been awesome and deserves to continue making the tough decisions that are required in her position. Our Mayor needs to go…. NOW!!!!

Rock Thrower
Rock Thrower
9 years ago

That’s a lot of information about an employee evaluation discussed in closed session.

The entire town council / county government process is corrupt and polluted by those who have or will profit in our very own Sodom and Gomorrah shtick !

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago
Reply to  Rock Thrower

Read the Brown Act. Personnel actions are discusses in closed sessions. To do otherwise is a violation of the employees right to privacy. Likewise pending legal action is discussed in closed session. That is the law in California. I am on a committee in my own city and have to… Read more »

Rock Thrower
Rock Thrower
9 years ago

Then what is it doing here in print Mr. Brown Act?

skiJane
skiJane
9 years ago

Bravo, Lisa, Bravo!! Thank you for taking the time to bring this to the public’s attention. It’s time to set a 2 term limit for these buffoons and hope more HONEST people run for town council in the future. From what I understand, the main reason why Marianna is disliked… Read more »

Tourbillon
Tourbillon
9 years ago

We repeatedly have had the opportunity to “replace historic town council”. It’s called a democratic election and they happen with predictable frequency. We complain about our elected officials at the local level, state level, and national level, all part of American politics. But recycling the same feeble complaints is no… Read more »

Bemused
Bemused
9 years ago
Reply to  Tourbillon

Our democracy is obviously broken. And yes, revolution IS what it will take to fix it…

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago
Reply to  Bemused

I guess I want to examine that comment a bit. Why pick up a gun and engage in revolution when you can choose leaders without resort to violence at the ballot box? Do you perfer to put leaders in place at the point of a gun rather than through an… Read more »

Voter apathy
Voter apathy
9 years ago
Reply to  Tourbillon

Two of the councilmen, Bacon and Raimondo had nobody running against them.
Voter apathy is at an all-time high.
Hell, anybody can find themselves calling the shots for the rest of us.

ferdinand lopez
ferdinand lopez
9 years ago

falling on deaf and realy dumb ears

Platypus
Platypus
9 years ago

Well said, Lisa!