There is a story, perhaps more of a parable, relating to construction of the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses of Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of China, around 210 BC.
As the story goes, after many years of laboring on the statues, ironically designed as part of an ornate funerary complex for Qin to defend him from evil in the afterlife, in order to keep the site a secret, the Emperor thanked the workers … and then had the remainder of the 700,000-person workforce executed.
Fast-forward to Mammoth’s current 2010-2011 budget process. Mammoth’s new Town Council has made certain policy decisions (especially the one to fund its Reserve for Economic Uncertainty at 25 percent of the total budget) which have, well, limited the funds available to fund programs and pay Staff. And Council was unwilling to play the hokey-pokey and juggle reserve funds as it typically does. The result: Town Manager Robert Clark will have to initiate layoffs.
These layoffs will not be made official until Council’s next meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 1 (the Aug. 18 meeting has been canceled).
The layoffs will include upper management positions.
Based upon Council’s expressed desire to forge ahead with a Zoning Code update and District Planning, it would appear Community Development Director Mark Wardlaw’s job is secure.
I wouldn’t lay odds on anyone else’s job security.
Question is whether Town Manager Rob Clark’s job is secure once he does all the dirty work. Or do the layoffs represent the conclusion of a Terra Cotta project?
Lesson here for Town Staff may be not to screw over a Councilman in the midst of a reelection bid. The flap over Eastman’s confusion in voting to end furloughs when he thought he was voting to extend them made him look bad.
About now, there are a few employees who wish they’d opted for another year of furloughs and a 10 percent reduction in salary as opposed to a 100 percent reduction.
One interesting budget decision made last week was to eliminate operation of the ice rink for the 2010-2011 season.
Staff has proposed the savings be used to hire a new Recreation Director, and they’ve apparently budgeted $200,000 to hire someone (Salary and bennies. $200 grand! That’s the next step – to rein in the salary structure).
Tourism and Recreation Commissioner Teri Stehlik had been under the impression the savings would be used for necessary rink improvements going forward.
Speaking of the Tourism and Recreation Commission, the pissing match with Jane Baer is ongoing.
Commissioners are upset that Baer pulled the end-around and went directly to Council to obtain $30,000 in park improvements that were denied her during the Measure R award process.
Baer is upset that the Commission continues to dally in drafting an ordinance which would prevent bike use at the skatepark.
The Commission voted 6-0 Tuesday to hire an independent contractor to look into seeing if the park could meet insurance requirements for multi-use. As Teri Stehlik said Wednesday, “It’s a municipal park. We need to look at options [which serve the wider community].”
Baer views the reexamination of the bike issue as a betrayal illustrating a lack of respect.
“I’m done being nice,” she said this week. “If this doesn’t go my way, I’ll call every editor of every [action sports] magazine I know and tell them what’s happened here … If the Town Council goes against the skatepark now [by allowing bikes], it will show how morally and ethically bankrupt this community has become.”
Geisel will have continuing web coverage of Thursday’s Tourism and Recreation Commission meeting theatrics at www.thesheetnews.com.
*On a separate note, Ken Baer tells The Sheet he did not retire from his position at the Mammoth Lakes Foundation, yet he no longer works there. Hmm.
Good news arrived Thursday with the announcement that Skywest (United) has been granted Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval which would allow planes to fly into Mammoth-Yosemite from San Francisco this winter.
The decision was a FONSI (Finding of No Significant Impact).
The plane proposed for use by Skywest is the Canadair Regional Jet 700, which has a 70-passenger capacity.
And a last-minute update from MUSD Superintendent Rich Boccia to accompany the Dual Immersion story, https://thesheetnews.com/archives/3986. Boccia said Thursday that he will add a Spanish-speaking teacher to the Mammoth Elementary kindergarten’s dual-immersion program.
But as Boccia warned, he does not want the world language educational component to detract from the primary goal of boosting achievement in basic three ‘r’ skills.
And from Geisel’s desk …
Mammoth Mountain Senior VP Greg Dallas pointed out a few errors in last week’s Moto track story.
Joe Parrino and the Mammoth Motorcycle Club contended that some of MMSA’s infrastucture improvements made to the Motocross track included security cameras accessible to both the Ski Area and the Sheriff’s Department. Dallas said this is untrue.
Joe made that s%$# up? Really?
Dallas also pointed out that the story understated the firmness of MMSA’s position, vis-a-vis any future use of the track beyond its sole event, Mammoth Motocross, and how that affects the relationship currently in existence between the Mountain and the U.S. Forest Service. “We’re not rocking the boat,” Dallas said, with a decided “period” added for additional emphasis. Not now, not in the future, Dallas added.