Since the end of August when word leaked out that the Town Council might dismiss their manager, residents of Mammoth have pointed fingers at what some see as a dysfunctional and secretive Council. Mayor Rick Wood spoke to that when the Council met last week.
Wood’s comments followed statements made by long-time resident Paul Rudder. He stood up during public comment and brought up a potential 30 year contract with Mammoth Disposal. Rudder said he hopes the Council will appoint a commission to look at that. He said there needs to be a great deal of transparency and much more community involvement. The Council has talked in closed session about buying land next to the disposal company and letting them use it for a recycling center. There has been no open talk about this on the Council’s agenda. Rudder’s comments echoed earlier criticisms about a lack of transparency in what the Council does.
Mayor Wood told Rudder that the process will be very public and transparent. Then he moved on to say that it’s not a secret that the Town has been in transition. He said it’s been “an extraordinary couple of years. We’ve faced down the worst economic crisis in this Town’s history,” Wood also said there there have been some “tough and politically controversial decisions.” He said the Council has five thoughtful members that come from different perspectives. Referring to the apparent ouster of the Town Manager, Wood said, “We’ve made some difficult decisions in the last couple of weeks.”
Then he turned to Tom Cage, sitting in the audience, who Wood said was “bold enough to suggest he might be able to help in a position of leadership.” Reliable sources had said the Council was considering firing Manager Martinez and hiring Cage. The community feedback was critical. Mayor Wood said that Cage “got blasted pretty hard by people in the community for volunteering to do what he thought in his heart and in his head could be something for this Council to consider.”
Although Council members have said virtually nothing about what went on with their manager, Mayor Wood did say, “For the record, this Council did not vote to replace the Town Manager with another Town Manager. We have considered a whole lot of options.” Wood then thanked Cage for “stepping up. You didn’t have to do that,” he said. “You didn’t have to take the heat.”
Later, Cage said it was nice of Wood to say what he said. Said Cage, “He did not need to do that. So I appreciated it very much.” He went on to say, “As you know my intent was to try to help the community, which I feel I could have. It would have been a difficult and bold move for the Town Council to institute such a change in management. I respect their decision or non-action and will continue to be involved in my community.”