Even before times grew raggedly tough economically, fewer and fewer could afford to live in Mammoth Lakes. More have moved to Crowley or Bishop and commute to Mammoth for their jobs. That’s why Town of Mammoth employees wanted a car pooling program to help with the mounting expense of the drive to and from Mammoth Lakes. When Town officials terminated the car pooling program, employees’ associations revolted. Officials say they are now talking about a replacement program.

Mammoth Town Manager Rob Clark said that the Town agreed to a trial car pooling program but terminated it after six months because it was too expensive. The Town Council agreed, all of which prompted the General Employees’ Association and Public Works Employees Association to file an unfair labor practice claim with the State Board, to file grievances and to declare an impasse in negotiations.

The car pooling program involved 25 workers who used Town vehicles. The price of gas was part of the issue. Manager Clark said just prior to Thanksgiving that “we want to provide affordable transit for workers in Mammoth Lakes and not just Town employees.” Clark said officials are working with Eastern Sierra Transit Authority on van pooling. He said there are several ideas on the table and that ESTA will look for grant money.

That’s one alternative. Others would be the Town lease or purchase of vans to use for car pooling. Clark said that officials would likely meet with employees’ associations after the holiday.