Mammoth lays off airport director

mammothtownofficesMammoth Lakes pundits speculate that the Town continues to take steps toward bankruptcy as the June 30 court-imposed deadline to pay the $43 million lawsuit judgment approaches. The court writ demands payment in full or a 10-year plan. The latest moves, aimed at further streamlining town expenses, in the face of budget problems and debt, have led to the lay-off of Airport Director Bill Manning and a senior employee in Public Works.

In early May, Councilman Skip Harvey pointed at Airport Director Manning as a problem.  In relation to the lawsuit debt, Harvey said, “Who was down at the airport making decisions, making sure information got to the right people?”  This statement referred to Bill Manning’s testimony on the airport lawsuit in which he admitted that he got a fax from the FAA with concerns about the development project proposed at the airport but never shared the document with Town officials.  Harvey said he was tired of the Town’s most important asset, the airport, being managed in a “mediocre way.”

At that May Council meeting, no other council members commented.  However, now the Town has laid off two senior employees, including Airport Director Manning.  According to Town Manager Dave Wilbrecht, the new fiscal year budget will reflect these lay-offs.   Wilbrecht said the Town continues to experience severe budget constraints and “needed to make further adjustments and consolidations.”  Wilbrecht said the airport will be consolidated into the Public Works Department.  He said, “We are finalizing the structure and will have a presentation to the Town Council on June 20th.”

Meanwhile, Wednesday at 5pm, the Town Council will hold a special meeting for the swearing in of newly-appointed Councilmembers Michael Raimondo and Jo Bacon.  Then they will all go into closed session over “initiation of litigation” and also labor negotiations.


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24 Responses to Mammoth lays off airport director

  1. upthecreek June 11, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

    “Wilbrecht said the airport will be consolidated into the Public Works Department.”

    This sounds like another stupid move.
    Just BK the town and be done with it


  2. Finally June 11, 2012 at 5:38 pm #

    Well Glad to hear that Teflon Man is finally going. They should have fired him years ago, no severance.

    Good riddance.
    Hope he moves from the area.
    I wonder what skeletons Manning has or knows.

    • upthecreek June 11, 2012 at 10:12 pm #

      Sure he will suck up a huge pension and benefits package and when he is finish file a lawsuit against the town for wrongful termination .


  3. inyoresident June 11, 2012 at 10:31 pm #

    So they are going to lay off the director of the Airport and “consolidate” it into the public works dept? So if the public works department is going to be in charge then why would you lay off the supervisor of the public works dept? Seems like the whole town of Mammoth Lakes is all screwed up and finding petty reasons to get rid of good employee’s to cover their dumb ass mistakes.

    • Human Resources June 12, 2012 at 11:57 am #

      The system we all sadly have to live with, is set up to where those with the most power in our community are the elected officials vs the at-will people with masters of public administration degrees, etc.,and consequently everyone else. An elected official can have the brains of a newt but because he beat the other guy by 5 votes (this is how Larry Johnston got in) gives him all the power.

      This is what should examined and changed.

  4. MJA June 11, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

    The FAA information Manning allegedly withheld from the the town and Ballas was information everyone including Ballas already knew. It is only obvious that the FAA has building restrictions or limitations around an airport. And yet somehow Ballas and MLLA got the judge to award them millions on the withholding of this common knowledge information. Manning and Ballas according to testamony were best of friends and perhaps the judge is too!
    Who is doing who?
    Don’t give MLLA a dime.


  5. Observer June 12, 2012 at 7:58 am #

    Manning must have job as TOML Transportation Director, too.

  6. John Barton June 12, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

    As of July 2, the TOML will be insolvent. They will announce bankruptcy thereafter. The timing of the announcement will be interesting but likely will be prior to the 4th of July with the hope the tourists and festivities will divert some of the attention. Be ready for a flury of media in the area. The TOML will emerge from this leaner and stronger, just will take time.

    • cat June 12, 2012 at 8:35 pm #

      It will take a few decades!

    • Ken Warner June 13, 2012 at 1:27 am #

      “TOML will emerge from this leaner and stronger, ”

      Will it? Why do you think that is true? Leaner most certainly but as long as TOML is reliant on tourism the local economy will remain a house of cards.

      One bad snow year and businesses go under and people are forced to leave town to survive. And with the kind of leadership the electorate chooses to represent them to engage in silly economics and chasing delusions of grandeur, it will stay underwater for the foreseeable future — most likely for decades.

      • John Barton June 13, 2012 at 8:49 am #

        There is precedent for cities to come out leaner and stronger. The city of Vallejo is just one good example. There will be greater oversight by creditors and stop gaps put in place to prevent similar events from happening again. Greater cash reserves will also likely be required which will also help insulate against a light winter. Other cities have issues with potential “what-ifs” but I don’t think the snow or lack of is going to be a make or break concern

        • Ken Warner June 13, 2012 at 3:52 pm #

          “…but I don’t think the snow or lack of is going to be a make or break concern…”

          Do you live here? Didn’t you see the results of a slightly below average winter?

          263 inches 2011-12

          The average since 1970 is 342 inches. Less than eighty inches below average and the town was sucking bubbles to stay alive. Mammoth Lakes is Snow Farmer Country.

          • John Barton June 13, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

            I was born and raised here and have seen enough boom and bust snow years to accept the fact that the well managed businesses are still open because they don’t focus on just snow and they stashed enough reserves away to make it through a lean winter or even two in a row. From what I here the mountain has not declared bankruptcy because “of a slightly below average winter”. My friends came up from the southland this winter with mountain bikes instead of skis. Just be happy there isn’t a current volcano scare like what happened in the 80s. Evolove or die.

      • longtimemammothresident June 14, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

        what else is Mammoth supposed to rely on besides tourism? It is a resort area. Yes, there are supporting businesses but the main reason people come to the town are the resort and outdoor attractions and I don’t see that changing because if it did, Mammoth’s biggest industry (tourism) would be less attractive. The key is to develop a solid base for tourism and bet more people in the shoulder seasons. And Mammoth will always be vulnerable to poor snow years and economic swings. I just hope it’s also not vulnerable to a changing trend away from outdoor recreation.

  7. MJA June 13, 2012 at 6:39 am #



  8. Just the facts June 13, 2012 at 9:02 am #

    Mammoth is a one-horse town.
    Rusty Gregory is riding that horse.
    As a businessman, It is doubtful that Gregory cares about anything other than getting those lift tickets sold. Even though the bulk of those tickets come from snowboarders who are not rich, stay 6 to a room, and their dining experience being a Quarter Pounder with Cheese.
    People have been coming to Mammoth from L.A. for a couple of generations.
    This will continue with or without any air service.

    It seems to me that an increase in TOT is in order.

    • SierraFan June 13, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

      Just the facts,

      I mostly agree with you but air service is needed if for nothing other than marketing with other resort towns. WIth the air service now coming from the Bay area, we should see a pick up in visitors from the central to northern Cal. We need to look our northern neighbors in Lake Tahoe and allow the owners of single family homes to rent their properties which will increase TOT. We also need to look at different events that bring the So Cal folks up here.

      • upthecreek June 13, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

        look no further than the price of GAS

    • upthecreek June 13, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

      Don’t you think the current TOT is already ridiculous..

      If anything it should be lowered.
      Cut the pensions and you will fix the revenue problems
      That is after you BK the town.

  9. Just the facts June 13, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

    The word on the street is the number of air passengers (in a good snow year) to Mammoth Lakes has been not all that profitable. It looks like the So. Cal. ski crowd prefers to fly into Salt Lake City then on to the ski resorts. Maybe a 2 for 1 deal might work with the mountain picking up the tab on the one.

  10. enoughalready June 13, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

    The money will be in the plywood business for boarding up the windows.

    The downward spiral excellerated when the big boom bubble burst. The airport deal was the double flush. The downward spiral was set into place back in 1984.
    I really don’t see it coming back any time soon. Not with the same old players lurking around. TOML needs a transfusion. Some young postive, active, visionary with a solid direction needs to show up….with a lot of money.

    Good luck!!!!!

    Folks…Rusty is not your answer.

    • upthecreek June 13, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

      Since Rusty is now a property owner in Balboa Bay he already has one foot off the mountain.


  11. Sean June 13, 2012 at 10:33 pm #

    BK will be good for the town. The day after it is declared everyone will realize the sky did not fall and it will be forgotten about. Tourists don’t give a damm about a BK. The hard part is NOW because everyone is anxious about it.

    City employees will take hits as there needs to be. More was promised that could be delivered. The BK would happen anyway in a few years for one reason or another. The city can not afford it’s entitlements like most other cities and states.

    Mammoth needs new blood with a pro business and pro industry attitude. How many businesses have not opened here due to excessive permitting fees or other city madness?

    Non-tourist related growth is the key. More later

  12. News of the Wierd June 14, 2012 at 5:53 am #

    In tough times the rich (Rusty Gregory) get richer. And this is okay, because this is capitalism.
    But when steps are taken to assist the little guy, this is socialism.


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