Posted on 11 March 2011.
Manning doesn’t get his (East)man
So much for a honeymoon period.
Just four days after assuming her duties as Mammoth’s Town Manager, Marianna Marysheva-Martinez (Sheet moniker: MMM) was forced to intervene in a personnel matter tinged with nepotism.
The controversy centered around Airport Manager Bill Manning’s filling of an Airport Maintenance Coordinator position at Mammoth Yosemite Airport.
Out of a field of eight candidates, Manning and three other members of his interview panel (Assistant Airport Manager Brian Picken, Hot Creek Aviation G.M. Pat Foster and Public Works Maintenance Manager Todd Murphy) selected William Thomas Bauman of San Diego as their top choice.
Bauman, however, just happens to be Councilman John Eastman’s prospective son-in-law (Bauman has been dating Eastman’s daughter and a September wedding is reportedly in the offing).
In an e-mail response to questions posed by The Sheet, Eastman wrote:
“On Will applying for the position at the airport – I can see where some eyebrows may have been raised. Yet, I bent over backwards to not get involved in any way. I recognize that we all live in a small community, so I was very careful to not be involved. On the other hand, I don’t feel it is fair to penalize an otherwise qualified candidate from applying for an entry level position. I merely introduced Will to the job opening, and the kid did the rest. Will made the inquiry and made his application completely on his own. Other than telling Will of the job opening, and driving him to the airport for his interview, I have had no involvement, what-so-ever. Will did share with me that he was interviewed by 4 men at the airport session, and that he was given a tour of the facility. In the end, Will was selected by the four members of the interview panel for the position, pending further administrative requirements, based solely on his own merit.
Not sure how important “experience” might be with this particular job. It is my understanding that this is a low end, entry level position, where youth, attitude and personality might be more important than any specfic experience.”
The position was advertised in The Sheet during the month of February. The qualifications for the position were enumerated as follows: “Candidates must have knowledge and experience in operating heavy equipment; knowledge of materials, methods, practices, and equipment used in airport maintenance and repair activities; knowledge of federal, state, and local rules and regulations related to airport maintenance; and knowledge of occupational hazards and standard safety precautions. Possession of, or ability to obtain within one year of employment, an appropriate, valid California Class B driver’s license. Possession of or ability to obtain First Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Certificates. Possession of certification or ability to become certified as a weather observer. Prefer: Strong background in aircraft rescue and firefighting techniques, as well as security and first aid methods, practices, and equipment.”
The salary range for the position starts at $40,024 annually, and includes a typically fat taxeater bennie package.
It is The Sheet’s understanding that Bauman, who either just graduated or is about to graduate from San Diego State University, does not have a plethora of work experience, and certainly far less experience than some of the other candidates. The Sheet wished to ask the interview panel about this particular issue, but Manning and Foster did not respond.
Town Manager MMM addressed the matter rather diplomatically following a closed session of Council on Wednesday. “One of the areas that I have been charged to look closely into was personnel processes and policies,” she said via e-mail. “Having looked into this particular recruitment closely, from start to finish, it became apparent that the Town lacks a centrally managed recruitment and selection process. We are going to change this, and we will start with the airport, given that their recent recruitment has not yet been completed.
In the next few days, I will be working with relevant staff to determine the exact needs of the airport, chart a clear recruitment/selection/hiring process that is transparent and consistent, and begin this recruitment anew.”
Side note: When I went down to the airport to try and speak with Manning directly on Wednesday, I discovered that his office is located inside an area which requires security clearance. Hilarious. Talk about bunker mentality. I wonder if Bill shares an office with the Publisher of the Fifty Center. Never see him around town either.
While MMM becomes accustomed to Mammoth’s unique dysfunctionality (and kudos to Eastman for trying to jam through that hire before she got her feet wet – that’s a wily politician for you!), we are reminded of how fortunate we are to have a Town Manager not named Clark.
This feeling becomes even stronger every time there’s a discussion of the future of the Mammoth Ice Rink.
*For background information on the rink deal, see www.thesheetnews.com/archives/3002
On Wednesday, representatives of the Mammoth Unified School District and the Town got together to try and figure out what to do about the rink, which the Town chose not to operate this year.
Currently, the Town is stuck in purgatory on this one (that or hell has frozen over. Yuk yuk.). Mayor Skip Harvey said Wednesday the Town’s invested about half of the $4.4 million required to get the facility completed.
The quandary is that the Town doesn’t really have the money to move forward, yet doesn’t have the stomach to walk away from its multi-million dollar investment.
The lease deal the Town signed with the school district in 2007 calls for $42,000/year in rent.
Harvey is hoping to renegotiate that number downward by two-thirds.
The District appears open to that … provided it receives some assurances that the rink will actually be built and operated.
Judy Farnetti pointed out the irony/comedy of the Town looking for a $28,000/year break on rent so it can spend another couple of million dollars to finish a facility which has historically lost $200,000/year on its operations.
Councilmember Jo Bureaucrat, er Bacon, said the Town needs to get done with its visioning, processing, RECSTRATing and American Idling before it will know what its recreational and funding priorities might be.
The Sheet would point out that for better or for worse, Council prioritized this ice rink in the nascent days of MLTPA and before Measure R or the Whitmore Track project ever existed.
Really, it’s a bit of deja vu. Think of the airport. We signed with one partner and then immediately got distracted by another. Here, we commit big money to an ice rink and then ditch our old partners and promises for newer partners and promises.
As School Board member Andrew Bourne said, “The perception [on the rink] is one of unkept promises,” a sentiment echoed by fellow Board member Greg Newbry.
Mayor Harvey acknowledged that the Town could apply for Measure R funds to help complete the project. The Sheet’s response is, “Well, what are you waiting for?”