After three months of essentially doing nothing, according to Town of Mammoth Lakes Mayor Pro Tem John Eastman, the Town Council reviewed a letter that had been prepared by Town Manager Rob Clark that would serve as their response to the Mono County Grand Jurys report. The response went to recommendations from an investigation conducted in regard to the rumors surrounding the Mammoth Lakes Police Department since Randy Schienle had been made Chief of Police.
Eastman was the only councilmember who loudly disagreed with portions of the letter that he did not feel were adequately addressing the Grand Jurys recommendations. He went through all five of the complaints and their subsequent recommendations from the Grand Jury. He was most concerned with complaints 08-02 and 08-05.
Complaint 08-02 dealt with personnel files. The Grand Jury recommended that the Town Council ensure that all of the Mammoth Lakes Police Department personnel files be kept on the premises at the MLPD. Eastman stated that it had been discovered that the Wildlife Specialists files were not on the MLPD premises but were at someones home in Bishop. His felt that this recommendation was good and should be heeded. The letter stated that this recommendation would be implemented.
Eastman also felt that another recommendation within 08-02, having the Town and the complainant waive their confidentiality so that a third party consultant could review the report, was a good one and should be implemented. The Towns Attorney, Peter Tracy, however, claimed this could not be done because all of the individuals that were interviewed for the report were promised confidentiality, so it was no longer just an issue between the Town and the complainant.
Complaint 08-05 and its recommendations dealt with accusations against the Chief of Police and his management style. Again Eastman felt that all of the recommendations should be followed, especially those dealing with a particular sergeant. Eastman claimed the complaints were of mistreatment of subordinate officers by this sergeant. He added that if this issue was not addressed it could lead to a lawsuit against the Town.
We are putting ourselves at financial risk if we do not take immediate steps, Eastman said.
The letter stated that this recommendation had been implemented and that the Chief of Police was starting to deal with the sergeant issues through counseling and performance evaluation.
I am just suggesting that we follow the Grand Jurys recommendations, Eastman said. Until we heed the recommendations, the morale at the MLPD that was found to be at a low-point by the Grand Jury report will continue.
Other Council members felt that the letter expressed that they were heeding the recommendations to the extent that the Town Council was able to heed them without overriding their jurisdictions. Council voted 4-1, with Eastman opposing, to approve and send the letter as written. A complete copy of the letter can be found on the Towns website.