Town attorney explains silence on town manager

Town Attorney Andrew Morris

Town Attorney Andrew Morris

Some citizens have pointed accusing fingers at the Mammoth Town Council for failure to disclose what’s going on with Town Manager Dave Wilbrecht, who is on administrative leave and the subject of a series of closed sessions. Town Attorney Andy Morris said that legally there is not much officials can say.

Sierra Wave Media asked Morris if he could comment on Wilbrecht’s status right now. Morris said he could not. We asked Morris to comment on why Town Manager Wilbrecht was placed on administrative leave. Morris’s response – no comment. He had the same response when asked if there were anything else he could disclose. Morris explained that if issues are personnel matters, he can not comment, and if something unfolds in a closed session, he can not comment.

This matter of intense interest by the public is legally confidential. Morris did say that if action is taken in closed session, it must be reported out. The Town Attorney said, “Until then, there’s not much I can say.” The same legal rules apply to members of the Town Council.

Mammoth Town government continues to shudder with the waves of repercussions from the Hot Creek lawsuit, the judgment of $30 million against the Town and complex and costly negotiations that led to a settlement – $2 million per year to Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition for the next 23 years. Other budget problems added to that huge expense led to personnel cuts that left many departments cut in half or nearly so.


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13 Responses to Town attorney explains silence on town manager

  1. Observer February 5, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

    It seems like announcements are made officially announcing if and when someone working in local government is placed on administrative leave. Why not an on the record announcement or confirmation if this is the case (is it?) with Wilbrecht?

    • Benett Kessler February 5, 2013 at 9:59 pm #

      Yes. He is on administrative leave. Mayor Lehman said he could not recall the exact date.

      • Memory loss? February 5, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

        It is highly unlikely that Lehman could recall anything in yet another travesty from the totally inept town counsel.

    • From wikipedia February 6, 2013 at 11:25 am #

      At-will employment is a doctrine of American law that defines an employment relationship in which either party can immediately terminate the relationship at any time with or without any advance warning, and with no subsequent liability, provided there was no express contract for a definite term governing the employment relationship and that the employer does not belong to a collective bargaining group (i.e., has not recognized a union).

  2. agenemnon February 5, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

    what are They attempting to cover up??

  3. agenemnon February 5, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

    what are They attempting to cover up??

  4. Public Humiliation February 6, 2013 at 5:36 am #

    Don’t expect our wonderful town counsel to announce a thing. They’ve already made too many erroneous announcements including a public agendized item that suggests “disciplinary action of a public employee” and Lehman callously saying “We don’t know what we’re going to do with Dave” not giving a damn how Dave’s friends, neighbors, associates, fellows, and those he supervises, might view their “disciplinary action.”

    Public humiliation – wrongful termination – character assassination – career damaging …
    Can you say, “Somebody is going to get sued?”

  5. J.J. February 6, 2013 at 8:28 am #

    Who? Dave? Dave’s not here, he’s packing his golden parachute!

  6. Eastern Sierra Local February 6, 2013 at 8:37 am #

    While not saying specifically what the issue are it seems readily apparent that Mr. Wilbrecht is on administrative leave for personnel issues.

    • Doing what he's told to do February 6, 2013 at 10:16 am #

      Seems to me the obvious reason Mr. Wilbrecht is on administrative leave, is that he was commanded to do so by the Town Council. And now we get to hear from Lehman –
      “We don’t know what to do with the town manager.”
      Can you say, “Something stinks here” ?

  7. what next February 6, 2013 at 9:11 am #


    Mayor Lehman cannot recall when Wilbrect was put on administrative leave.
    I understand the need for privacy here. But at what point do we have the right to know what wrongdoing has been done? I seriously doubt this is about vacations. If It were how could Wilbrect do anything at this point to correct that. Wood alluded to Wilbrect has a move to make things right.

    Don’t see that here.

  8. what next February 6, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    I hope that these closed sessions are not about Salaries or reduction there to. That is a not a authorized reason for closed sessions.

    Also reading the Brown act guide, the council is treading on thin ice. It appears that the whole purpose of conducting closed session for employee situations is to protect the employee. Please tell me how Wilbrects name has been protected here. Looks like another Lawsuit going to be. I suppose it litigation will be the only thing this town is good for.

    • Benett Kessler February 6, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

      Dear What Next,

      The Council has to list topics for discussion on its closed session agenda. They have done that and nothing more.
      As their lawyer said, the Council can not disclose the details of the closed session discussions.


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