At a closed session meeting of the Mammoth Lakes Town Council on Thursday, Council expected to approve the resignation letter of Town Manager Marianna Marysheva-Martinez.
Mayor Rick Wood received the signed letter Thursday afternoon. If accepted at closed session, it becomes effective Friday.
MMMartinez has been on paid administrative leave from her job as of Friday, August 30. She cleaned out her desk on the Tuesday following Labor Day. Mammoth Police Chief Dan Watson has been serving as Interim Town Manager.
MMMartinez had served as Town Manager since February, following the removal of her then-boss David Wilbrecht.
She also served as Interim Town Manager before Wilbrecht was hired in April 2011.
According to Mayor Rick Wood, the current Council is divided over MMMartinez’s imminent departure, but three Councilmembers are committed to her ouster. In other words, if she doesn’t sign a letter of resignation, there are the votes to terminate her contract anyway.
The provisions in MMMartinez’s contract call for termination by either party with 30-days notice. No cause for such termination is required to be given.
Wood praised MMMartinez’s resourcefulness, and is certain she will land on her feet somewhere, but for Mammoth, he says there is now “historic” opportunity to create a new town government. “This takes us back to 1984,” he said, alluding to the Town’s very incorporation when all positions were wide open.
The current government is almost entirely bereft of senior staff, save Police Chief Dan Watson, Civil Engineer Peter Bernasconi and Town Clerk Jamie Gray.
As the Town embarks on a Town Manager recruitment process, The Sheet asked Wood if he felt the allure, for potential Managerial candidates, of filling a “blank canvas” with his/her own team would outweigh the Town’s recent reputation for playing “musical chairs” with its Town Manager position.
Wood said yes, he believed the former would outweigh the latter, and that he is as “enthusiastic as I’ve ever been” about doing things differently.
Sheet: How influential were the exit interviews of [Public Works Director] Ray Jarvis and [Building Official] Johnny Goetz in regards to the decision to remove the Town Manager?
Wood: They were certainly influential, at least with me. Pretty powerful.
I then asked Wood if he had been hesitant to promote MMMartinez to the top job, post-Wilbrecht, given that she had initially been brought in to clean house and establish fiscal order. Subtext being, can a former hatchet person transition into a top job without meeting with a certain degree of lingering resentment from holdover staff members?
Wood acknowledged he had had misgivings. “My argument to the two [Councilmembers] who continue to support her – I gave you my vote when you wanted her [to present a united front].”
He is a bit chagrined that he has not received reciprocity now that the tables have turned.
Wood did reveal one small hint as to what may have been a stylistic difference between himself and MMMartinez, and he acknowledged that he could never get a read on her personally.
Wood said that as soon as MMMartinez left on vacation at the beginning of August, the volume in his email inbox immediately plunged by 20%. MMMartinez, he said, demanded a certain “micro-involvement” from the Mayor that he felt was excessive. He also felt that number of emails served to dilute the significance of each – it was difficult to wade through them all to distinguish what was important from what wasn’t.
Councilmember Mattthew Lehman, who served as Mayor from July 2012 through June 2013, agrees that “there was a lot of email correspondence.” But, he says, past managers may have corresponded too little.
“I’d rather that [a flood of emails] than not being kept in the loop,” he said. “It didn’t bother me so much.”
“You give her direction for your style,” he added. “Don’t blame them [employees] for doing things their way.” If you don’t tell them to stop, he said, you’re helping to create/facilitate that behavior.
“Part of her failure is our fault. We didn’t give her the tools,” he concluded. By tools, he used finance as an example. She couldn’t really fix the finance department because she only had so much staff, and so much money for the technology upgrades she desired. “We asked her to dig a ditch and we gave her a spoon,” said Lehman.
Fall Century could see 1,000 riders
High Sierra Fall Century and Gran Fondo Marketing Director Randy Fendon said registration for the ride was pushing 900 as of Thursday and could top 1,000 by race-time (7:30 a.m.) Saturday.
Online registration has ended, but riders can register at Footloose Sports until 9 p.m. Friday evening and then at the Village at Mammoth from 6 to 7 a.m. on Saturday.
Fendon encourages the community to give a big send-off to the riders as they pedal down Main Street. “It’ll be a spectacle,” he said.
Ahh. A menagerie of bright spandex!
Fendon’s Furniture, Footloose Sports and Mammoth Lakes Tourism decided to share the cost to hire a helicopter (from local outfit Skytime Helicopter Tours) to shoot the event. Colin Farrell will handle the video while Brad Peatross shoots the stills.
The best riders are expected to complete the century ride in approximately four-and-a-half hours. The majority of riders return between 2-4 p.m. The community is encouraged to lay out a blanket on Main Street, ring a cowbell and cheer the riders up that final climb.
Fred Pierrel and Matt Toomey will be cooking at the post-ride buffet, with live music by the Mark Sexton band out of L.A. starting at 1 p.m. From 2-3 p.m., there will be a kids road bike race in and around the Village. 7-time U.S. National Champion cyclist and 2012 Olympic Silver Medalist Dotsie Bausch will also sign autographs starting at 2 p.m.
Winter air service finalized
Mammoth Mountain announced its winter air service schedule on Thursday. Winter service provided by United and Alaska Airlines resumes on Dec. 19. Connections will be available through L.A., San Francisco, San Diego and Orange County. The anticipated Denver service has been pulled.
Dr. Maria King, who owns the Day and Night Pediatrics practice in Mammoth Lakes and who also sits on the Southern Mono Hospital Board, is recovering nicely after surgery to remove a brain tumor. She was told doctors got all of the tumor.
Dr. King expects a recovery period of two-to-three months. Dr. Yuri Parisky has generously offered her and husband John use of his home in L.A. while she undergoes follow-up radiation and oral chemotherapy treatment.
She will be returning home to Mammoth on the weekends to visit with her daughter. While she is on medical leave, her practice is being covered by Dr. Boyle.
Cause Determined for Rim Fire
According to the U.S. Forest Service, the Rim Fire, which has burned nearly 371 square miles in and around Yosemite National Park, was caused by an illegal fire set by a hunter.