Mammoth’s new Interim Town Manager Marianna Marysheva-Martinez
Interim Town Manager comes with some weight
At 34-years-old, Marianna Marysheva-Martinez has already packed 15 years of experience in local government management under her belt. As often happens in bureaucratic arenas, however, her reputation in those 15 years has not gone completely unblemished.
Marysheva-Martinez was hired on Feb. 23 as the Town of Mammoth’s Interim Town Manager. She will begin work on March 2 pending the execution of her employment contract by Mayor Skip Harvey and review by Town Attorney Andrew Morris. Her contract runs through the end of June.
In a voice accented by Russian descent, the mother of two told The Sheet that some of the goals she plans to accomplish in her time here include putting a long-term work-plan with real deliverables in place and helping recruit the new Administrative Services Director.
Real deliverables include making progress on the Hot Creek litigation, finishing the current fiscal year with savings, and putting together a long-term capital projects plan. As for staying on as the Administrative Services Director, Marysheva-Martinez explained that it was not a position she is interested in.
From 2008 until Jan. 5 of this year, shortly after a new Oakland mayor was sworn into office, Marysheva Martinez had been working for the City of Oakland as the Assistant City Administrator under then-Mayor Ron Dellums. While Dellums may not have been known for his fiscal responsibility, Marysheva-Martinez was the “hammer behind the throne,” according to one reporter at SFGate.com.
“I was responsible for finance, budget and purchasing,” she explained. “I also selected and hired staff for key executive positions.”
In her two full years as Assistant City Administrator, she was able to balance $200 million in the city’s floundering budget. A feat that her former Executive Assistant, Amber Todd lays solely at Marysheva-Martinez’s feet.
“She was like a bloodhound when it came to finding money,” Todd explained. “She was very realistic and if the money wasn’t there she didn’t try to sugarcoat it. She saved the city from bankruptcy and if they don’t miss her already, they will.”
“I am known as a person who gets things done,” Marysheva-Martinez said matter-of-factly. “My approach for balancing a budget is to involve stakeholders, including the community.” She thought that the public budget visioning workshop the Town Council held on Wednesday was a great exercise.
“I also have years and years of budget experience, so I know where to look for the fat,” she added, pointing out, however, that it’s not always fat-cutting that is necessary. “Often things just need to be done differently.”
Prior to her employment as Assistant City Administrator, Marysheva-Martinez had worked for the City of Oakland as its Budget Director from 2000-2005. It was in the three year gap between that first position with Oakland and the second that her name became entangled in some negative press.
According to an article by The Press- Enterprise (Riverside) in April 2007, Marysheva-Martinez and Nabar Enrique Martinez had secretly married in 2006 while he was the City Manager of Lynwood and she was his Assistant City Manager. The article claimed they had kept their marriage hidden for several months while he continued to sign her timecards and the two signed off on each other’s expenses from business trips they took together.
Marysheva-Martinez told The Sheet that the article was “just not true.”
“Often I find things on the internet that are useful, but a lot of the time the internet is just a big garbage pit,” she explained. She stated that she met her husband in Lynwood and resigned when they were married because it was appropriate.
“The Council asked me to stay, even with the marriage, but I left,” she said. She added that one of the Council members at the time wanted to make it difficult for her husband to find a new job so he went to the media and he hired an investigator to look into Mr. Martinez.
“The investigation found no improprieties and confirmed that I did the right thing to leave,” Marysheva-Martinez explained. According the report in The Press-Enterprise, Mr. Martinez on the other hand, had “violated policies on nepotism,” in the eyes of the Orange County investigative firm Norm Traub and Associates.
Marysheva-Martinez stated that an ethics advisory board as well as an outside auditor confirmed that the couple had done nothing wrong and had not been signing each other’s paperwork. Mr. Martinez was hired as the City Manager for Redlands in 2007 and remains there today.
Marysheva-Martinez will be in Mammoth Monday through Thursday during her four month stint as Interim Town Manager, and Friday through Sunday when necessary. She claimed that while she has never worked in a community as small as Mammoth, she has worked places where she had to roll up her sleeves for the hands on work.
“I really enjoy that and am privileged and humbled to be here in this fine community.”