What changes would they make? What things would they keep the same? That was a question asked in the Mammoth Rotary Candidates Forum of all Mono Supervisor candidates.
District 5 Candidate Greg Eckert said the change he would make is to give the County a larger role in marketing and tourism. He said now Mono County spends less than $300,000 a year. Eckert said Mono needs more people here – people who come for a week at a time. After the budget is balanced, he said, more money should be spent on marketing. As for what he would keep the same, Eckert said it’s a vote every June. He said voters can “clear out one of us. The problem with government,” said Eckert, “is people get complacent. Politics are like diapers,” he said. “They shouldn’t be recycled.”
District 1 Candidate Supervisor Larry Johnston said he would change the County into a more collaborative, innovative government. He said the County is currently helping the Town of Mammoth with IT tasks. He said he hopes they can also collaborate on the County’s investment pool where money gets three or four times the interest that the Town currently gets. He said maybe the Town and County can create a joint Human Resources Department. Johnson got a laugh when he said he would not change the “present leadership. We have a great team,” he said. “I am proud of the new group.”
His opponent, District 1 Candidate Bill Sauser said the change he would make is to look outside the box. He said the job the County is supposed to do is to partner and communicate with other agencies. He said he would not change the location of Mono County. “It’s the bet place on the planet,” said Sauser who added he’s been here 60 years. And, he threw in the statement – “I love bears!”
District 5 Candidate Stacy Corless said she would change risk management. She said, “I’m concerned about the lawsuits. They cause significant financial loss and they are employee related. Something needs to change. We need a better culture. We need to step back and use good judgment about what’s right and wrong.” Corless said the County needs to write down clear processes to end the lawsuits – presumably like those involving former Deputy Jon Madrid and County mechanic Dick Luman. Corless said, “We need a culture of safety and well-being.” What Corless would not change is the current direction of a more innovative Mono County and the strategies involving recreation, planning, partnerships, and economic development.
District 5 Candidate Kirk Stapp said he would try to change the attitude gap between North and South County or the County and the Town of Mammoth Lakes. “We can’t collaborate with this blockage,” he said. “This will continue as long as the County holds animosity towards Mammoth. It is Mammoth tax dollars that fund County services,” he said. What he would not change, Stapp said, is the good staff and direction in dealing with wider issues like Sage Grouse, geothermal development in Mammoth and other issues. Said Stapp, “We need to take the lead on changes that might come our way.”