Marysheva-Martinez responds to employee morale issues

Town Manager Marianna Marysheva-Martinez

Town Manager Marianna Marysheva-Martinez

Three more critical employees have left their jobs with Town of Mammoth Lakes government, morale has sunk and some say they fear the new Town Manager and her style. Marianna Marysheva-Martinez has sent workers two memos that speak to some of their fears.

The Town Council voted to appoint Marysheva-Martinez to the spot of Town Manager after they accepted former manager Dave Wilbrecht’s resignation. As the town government’s woes string on like a painful soap opera, some workers whose positions were eliminated on a recommendation from Martinez point to what they feel is a heartless management style.

Asked about this, Martinez said no one has brought this to her attention. She said, “I communicate very directly. Sometimes people don’t like that.” She pointed out that the Town Council hired her to deal with specific items – the Hot Creek lawsuit, bankruptcy and re-structuring. Marysheva-Martinez said she was not hired to manage people. She said, “This has not been my responsibility to engage in employee morale management. Now,” said Martinez, “it is my job. I see that morale is low, and, together, we have to fix it.”

The new Town Manager, who officially takes over Thursday, said the whole situation in Town government has scared people. She said when there is stress like this it has emotional, physical and uncertainty impacts. Most of the time, she said, it’s negative and people see no hope. Martinez said, “The role of the Town Manager and the town leadership is to help show hope. I think I’m good at that,” she said. “I see the positive.” She compared Mammoth to a surgery patient. She said when the surgery is done, recovery is next.

To the fact that her base home and family are in Pasadena, not Mammoth Lakes, Martinez said she does care about the Mammoth community. “If I didn’t care,” she said, “I wouldn’t have sacrificed time with my family. My commitment is to this Town.”

Martinez shared two memos she recently sent to the Town staff. The first memo addressed plans to fill critical vacancies. Human Resources/ Risk Manager Robin Picken now works for the City of Bishop. Community and Economic Development Supervisor Ellen Clark has left and so has Grants Analyst Karen Sibert. Martinez shared short-term and long-term plans to handle the vacancies.

The second memo is entitled “Employee Morale: What we can and will do to improve and sustain it.” In the memo, Marysheva-Martinez said she sees that employee morale is “dangerously low.” She says she has made it a high priority to improve it. The new Town Manager asks for help and support from workers. Her ideas range from filling critical vacancies to more meetings with workers and more communication with local media.


February 7, 2013


Dear Town staff –

Yesterday, I presented to the Town Council a plan to fill critical vacancies within our organization. The Council recognizes the hard work that all of you do, and that any vacancies put yet an additional strain on the already over-stretched organization. The Council enthusiastically supported the plan to fill the vacancies that is outlined below, and encouraged me to implement it as soon as possible. I will make it a high priority to ensure that we have additional help.

I wanted you to be aware of the steps that will be taken to fill the critical vacancies. Please let me know if you have any question or concerns. You can contact me directly, by calling extension 228, emailing me at, stopping by my office, or relaying your feedback through Pam Kobylarz at extension 223 or

Thank you all –

Marianna Marysheva-Martinez

Plan to fill critical vacancies 

All recommended changes are budget-neutral, use savings from vacancies and do not result in additional unbudgeted expenses.

  1. HR / Risk Manager position (vacated by Robin Picken)
    1. Short-Term (February-June): Fill the position on a temporary basis, by reaching out to Sierra Employment and Intellibridge Partners, and placing for temporary help ads in local papers and professional publications.
    2. Long-Term (beginning July 2013):  Explore the possibility of establishing a regional HR department, which would have both the HR manager and other positions, and provide services to the Town and other local government entities. Advertise and fill the job by July 1, 2013.
  2. CED Supervisor position (vacated by Ellen Clark)
    1. Short-Term (February-June): Assign Senior Planner Sandra Moberly as an acting manager. Hire a temporary employee to assist with TOT compliance responsibilities full-time; re-assign TOT responsibilities from Sandra to the new temp. Engage a consultant to work on specific planning projects at 10-15 hours per week.
    2. Long-Term (beginning July 2013):  Recommend to the Town Council for approval in February-March a permanent organizational structure for the CED department, to address TOT compliance, Economic Development and department management. Upon Town Council approval, advertise and fill new positions by July 1, 2013.
  3. Grants / CIP Analyst (vacated by Karen Sibert)
    1. Short-Term (February-June): Hire a temporary employee to backfill Karen Sibert’s responsibilities. Hire an additional temporary employee for three months (March-May 2013) to lead the FY 13-14 budget preparation process.
    2. Long-Term (beginning July 2013):  Recommend to the Town Council for approval in February-March a permanent organizational structure for the Town Manager and Finance departments. Upon Town Council approval, advertise and fill new positions by July 1, 2013.

Copies: Town Council

February 10, 2013

Town of Mammoth Lakes, California Office of the Town Manager (760) 934-8989, extension 223


Dear Town staff –

I have observed that employee morale in our organization is dangerously low. I have made it a high priority to improve it. But I cannot do it myself: I will need your help, support and participation. I have outlined below my thoughts on the steps that, in my opinion, will help us tackle the issue. I hope to get your feedback with regards to these ideas.

You can contact me directly, by calling extension 228, emailing me at mmartinez@ci.mammoth-, or stopping by my office. You can relay your feedback through Pam Kobylarz at extension 223 or You can also express your thoughts during Employee Open Forums, one-on-one meetings with me (these are coming up), or any other way that best suits your communication style. No matter how you choose to provide feedback, I do ask that you please comment.

Thank you all – Marianna Marysheva-Martinez

Ideas on Improving and Sustaining Employee Morale

1. Fill critical vacancies. (See email dated February 7, 2013.) 2. Continue regular updates to all employees on critical issues and developments. 3. Develop a monthly employee newsletter. 4. Engage a team (currently of two) to recommend initiatives to engage employees, such as employee

appreciation events. 5. Continue open forums with all employees, but make them meaningful for employees to engage in a

dialogue. 6. Hold monthly meeting with employee associations; invite managers and Town Council. 7. Set aside one afternoon a month for one-on-one meetings of the Town Manager and individual

employees. 8. Actively inform and educate the public about innovative, creative, progressive projects; what Town

employees do; our accomplishments, etc.: • Send out press releases. (The first one has gone out, from the Police Department.) • Create and regularly update an online list of innovative, creative, progressive projects

completed by departments. • Post online a log of Town Council assignments with status. Refer to it at every Town Council

meeting, under departmental reports. • Possibly profile individual Town employees at council meetings, online, etc. • Engage in regular media briefings and round-table discussions.

9. Set aside funding for employee appreciation / recognition.



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28 Responses to Marysheva-Martinez responds to employee morale issues

  1. Wake up people February 11, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

    So does anyone by Triple m’s sincerity?
    I don’t for a minute. Read what she says. She was hired for the restructuring. Really. and downsizing and outsourcing she never had a hand in. Get real.
    You do not need to bully or threaten a employees worthiness in order to get what you ultimately desire. Just look at what transpired. look at the police. You tell the officers that 7 positions are going to need to go. So If you don’t want to be the one you go out and look for a new job or you retire. Success Officers leave without needing to fire them.

    You threaten outsourcing positions.. Do you stick around or do you put out feelers and take what comes up.

    success there has been a mass exodus without any firings.

    Is the HR person going to be replaced? NO plans are to combine services in the area. This is not an overnight idea?


    150k to a person that quit! are you for real!

    • Wake up and do What? February 12, 2013 at 10:58 am #

      The 5 power-brokers on the town council (two of them ran unopposed) know full well that they are in the driver’s seat on this. The know that the people of Mammoth could care less (two of them have been around since the airport mess – AND ARE STILL AROUND!!!)
      What should the fine people of Mammoth do? Fire the town council? Ain’t gonna happen and the council knows this. There is too much apathy here. And those who can afford to live here don’t give a damn.

  2. Chipmunk February 11, 2013 at 7:17 pm #

    The fact that MMM mentions the names of the employees that left the Town is very strange. It seems to scream, “It’s their their fault they left the Town, not mine.” The majority of town employees would argue otherwise.

    • Bring back Dave February 12, 2013 at 6:52 am #

      Not good.
      Make Dave Wilbrecht an offer he can’t refuse. He lives here. Knows the territory. Knows the people. Cares about them. This woman has trouble written all over her.

      • Councilmen's Thumbs February 12, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

        Hmmmm? 3 “thumbs down” to reinstate Wilbrecht.
        Let’s see … that would be:
        Thumb Wood
        Thumb Eastman
        Thumb Lehman
        Any bets?

  3. Wake up people February 11, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

    I do not see or feel a sincere tone what so ever in tripple M’s note. We all need to wake up. For mmm to state that it was not her doing is outrageous. I belive she was behind all of it. People in that amounts that have left just do not quit like this and jump ship.
    She and the council got what they wanted and now they try to pick up the pieces. ARE you

    MMM has no respect for the people of this town.

    It’s MMM that needs to go.

    No one really is demanding

  4. sayno February 11, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

    I dont like your morale……………your fired!!

  5. Chipmunk February 11, 2013 at 11:26 pm #

    Some employees are refering to MMM as Tsarina Marianna and Marie Antoinette because she has no clue that her management style is the primary reason for the low morale and the primary cause of good people leaving good jobs to go elsewhere.

    “The beatings will continue until the morale improves.”

    Everyone is now standing by for a “Death by Powerpoint” presentation for improving employee morale by MMM.

    • Where's the tar & feathers? February 12, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

      I disagree Chipmunk.
      I think MMM knows EXACTLY that her management style is the reason for low morale and the reason good people are leaving. And she could care less. She’s made it known from the start she wanted to be Town Manager while living elsewhere, so long as the council gives her all the power she demands. And… she got it.
      I’ve seen these power-point presentation people come and go. Throw enough numbers and graphs at the dumb councilmen and voila! Ya got ’em where ya got ’em.
      Morale? She’s already stated that’s not her job. Whose is it then?
      Is it illegal to tar-and-feather town councilmen?

      • Benett Kessler February 12, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

        Point of accuracy – in the story Ms. Martinez said she was not hired to manage people initially but that now this is her job.
        Benett Kessler

        • Can you say, "Fall-Guy?" February 12, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

          The Mammoth Town Council, confused as to which Town Manager should be “managing people,” dumped the non-powerpoint presenation and number-crunching dirty work on Wilbrecht, then during some much-needed time away and approaching rapid burn-out, finds out his job is gone (not the voluntary deal as Lehman lied about to the press)
          and has no other choice than to take the offer, and prepare to leave the town and county that he has heavily invested himself in.

        • Throw the bums out! February 13, 2013 at 7:24 am #

          Early on, MMM expressed a keen desire to be Town Manager. Everybody knows this. This is no secret. I suppose she finds it difficult to live on only one town manager’s salary – her husband’s. Poor dear.

          How can anybody raising two little kids, has to fly back and forth to her workplace (on taxpayer’s dollars) whose only “expertise” is number-crunching, manage anyone and call it her job?

          Mammoth continues to get snowed, with cops and other good people losing their jobs to support the part-time Town Manager’s hefty salary.

          Recall the town council immediately!

      • Chipmunk February 12, 2013 at 11:25 pm #

        Tar and Feathers, there is a better than even chance that you are right on this one.

  6. Anita February 12, 2013 at 9:36 am #

    …because nothing says “I appreciate all you do and I care about your well-being, we’re all in this together and keep up the good job!” to shell-shocked employees like a couple of memoranda that you release to the press….

    • Benett Kessler February 12, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

      Just a point of clarification – I requested the memos, and Ms. Martinez said they are public documents. So, I asked her to email them to me.

      • Anita February 13, 2013 at 11:17 am #

        My bad, thanks, Benett.

        • Benett Kessler February 13, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

          No worries. I probably should have made that clear in the story.

  7. The Hatchet Man February 12, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    Hatchet Man – a person tasked with implementing firings of personnel. This is best accomplished when the Hatchet Man lives nowhere near the vicinity where the “surgery” (as MMM so pleasantly puts it) takes place.

    In my 25+ years of corporate experience, I’ve seen this situation played out again and again.
    The Hatchet Man gets to pad their resume, has no desire to live within the community where they are “perfoming surgery,” gets the employement contract they want – then moves on.

    And those who hired and fullly support the Hatchet Man think they are getting their money’s worth.
    (Or should I say The Town of Mammoth’s money worth)?

    Prediction: More people in Mammoth will cry foul and make demands when their pool may be closing than give a rat’s ___ about what is happening behind the closed doors of the council meetings and the demise of their friends and neighbors.

  8. A woman on the move February 12, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

    Secretly married the city manager of Lynwood.
    Mr. Martinez, her city manager husband, was found to have “violated policies on nepotism,” when he appointed her assistant city manager, in the eyes of a Orange County investigative firm. Her husband then bounced around a bit and was hired as the City Manager for Redlands in 2007 and remains there today. MMM found employment in Oakland as Assistant City Administrator. Hungry for a City Manager job, MMM then applied for the City Manager of Yakima, Washington. (I’m sure she cared for those communities she cares for Mammoth) laughter.
    How incredibly stupid can our town council be?

    • MMM's only job? February 13, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

      What is this?
      Looking at the date, could it be that our beloved MMM had two jobs in the public sector?
      Has anybody checked into this?

      • Benett Kessler February 13, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

        It sounds like she was looking for ideas for the Town of Mammoth Lakes. Those are two approaches she and the Town Council
        said they would consider taking – volunteer programs and out-sourcing.
        Benett Kessler

        • How about a volunteer Town Manager? February 13, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

          Like volunteer police (7 got the axe in the town she doesn’t even live in)?

          Or maybe she was looking for a volunteer or out-sourced Town Manager.

          Yeah, right.

  9. Dingo February 12, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

    I think MY boss and MMM are related, my boss is also a meat head who uses bullying tactics. Neither know Mammoth, that’s for sure.

  10. The mysterious MMM February 12, 2013 at 4:12 pm #

    Martinez also was investigated for violating the city’s neoptism policy after hiring Marianna Marysheva as assistant city manager and finance director in 2005 and then secretly marrying her a few months later without disclosing the marriage to the council.

    The investigation revealed that Martinez clearly violated the policy when he married a direct subordinate and continued working in an employer/employee relationship with her.

    “Added to this, Mr. Martinez, failed to disclose the fact that he was married to his direct subordinate … to his employers, the City Council,” the report stated.

    Martinez said that neither he nor former Human Resources Director Sandra Rocha knew about the nepotism policy that was established in 1977.

    The nepotism charge and an allegation that Martinez was insubordinate by refusing to participate in the investigation into his alleged violations were the only ones sustained by the investigation.

    Martinez, in response to the report’s findings, said he did not respond to the mayor’s request on March 12 to submit to an interview with investigators because “forcing him would be a violation” of his rights. In fact, Martinez said his lawyer called Chrysler and told him that he was out of town and that his client could not be forced to meet with the city without him.

  11. Does not surprise me February 12, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

    Looks like MMM has a history of breaking or bending the rules.
    This woman in my eyes could care less about our Town.
    How long are we going to be doomed.
    Why did we not have any input on this. What a crock this town is becoming.

  12. wow February 12, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

    Intresting readind lynwood watch.blogspot/ martinez

  13. getaclue February 13, 2013 at 7:19 am #


    MMM is the brain child of the Town Clownsel. She does their bidding at their pleasure. They are sitting on the Dias feeling pretty proud of the chaos and could care less what the people of this town think. I have seen grumblings about a recall on this blog but there is no real concern from the Clownsel because no one wants to step up. Mammoth has some very qualified people who would be a positive influence but aren’t willing to pick up the pieces being left by this Clownsel. Any non qualified idiot can dictate policy when it takes very few votes and in some cases none to sit on the Dias. You can lash out at MMM but it’s the people of your town who are to blame. She’s only a TOOL being used by TOOLS of which you allow to rule.

  14. Philip Townsend February 13, 2013 at 12:21 pm #

    Really interesting view pont. thanks for sharing.


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