In the wake of surprise news that the Town Manager is out and someone else will lead Town government organization, Sierra Wave Media talked to Mammoth Mayor Rick Wood.
Mayor Wood said that the Town Council “is at a turning point.” He said in moving forward the question always is “who does the Town Council feel is the best person to lead the Town and the staff as we go forward.” Wood said from his perspective, he would like to see someone other than Marianna Marysheva-Martinez.
Although at news time, she had not handed in her official letter, Town Manager Martinez was expected to make her resignation certain. Mayor Wood did confirm that the Town Council placed Martinez on paid Administrative Leave. He also said it was his expectation that the Council would soon receive a formal resignation. The Mayor said he expected the Council to hold a special meeting Thursday. In fact, the agenda for that 5pm meeting Thursday says a closed session for release of a public employee and consideration of appointment of a Town Manager.
Wood admitted that everything that has happened “seems confusing.” He said the Council is “hamstrung, legally, by what we can say.” He did repeat that he expects Martinez’s official resignation. So, what happened between the Town Council and their manager to turn things so sour? Wood did not want to comment on exactly why Martinez is out except to say that the Council, or at least a majority, are “looking for a different leader.” Wood said there is a “broader examination of where we want to go and who is the best to take us there. She was not that person.”
What about reports that the Council would hire businessman Tom Cage? Wood said that was a rumor and the Council had made no appointment. He did immediately say that Thursday’s meeting they may include appointment of an Interim Town Manager, although he said that’s not critical since Police Chief Dan Watson is Acting Town Manager.
Will Martinez receive a buy-out of her contract? Wood said her contract does not call for a settlement but does say termination without cause can happen with 30 days’ notice. So, conceivably, Martinez could receive 30-days’ pay.
How will they pick a permanent Town Manager? Mayor Wood said the Council will have “an open, transparent process involving advertising, a head-hunter or an appointment, whatever method we use.” He said there would be a public vetting of any candidate.
The Mayor described the state of things in Town government. He said Martinez did a lot of hard work in re-organizing government, dealing with the MLLA lawsuit debt and bankruptcy issues. Wood said, “She deserves credit for her role, but we as a Town accomplished those things.”
Wood said the next steps forward include a classification and compensation study, a re-organization of the Recreation Department and in Wood’s view – a new Town Manager to lead the way.