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Town goofs on Wilbrecht contract

April 23, 2011

Incoming and outgoing Mammoth town managers Dave Wilbrecht and Marianna Marisheva-Martinez. Times photo/George Shirk

It was supposed to be a coronation Wednesday night.

Instead, it turned out to be a “whoops” moment for the Mammoth Lakes Town Council, which was all set to finalize incoming Town Manager Dave Wilbrecht’s $180,000-a-year contract.

It didn’t happen.

In what Mayor Skip Harvey called an “embarrassing” situation, the terms of Wilbrecht’s retirement benefits ran contrary to a November council resolution, which councilwoman Jo Bacon said she can’t even remember making.

The upshot of the fubar was that Wilbrecht left the meeting without a deal and the council scrambled to set up a special closed session meeting for today.

Wilbrecht had no comment on the mix-up, but seemed good-natured about it.

Councilmembers also had no comment, but during a break in the meeting, when a reporter said to Harvey, “Whoops,” he replied, “Yeah, oops.”

The issue has to do with how much the Town will pay into Wilbrecht’s retirement. Under the CalPERS rules, there is an “employee contribution” (no problem) and an “employer contribution (problem).

Last November, during its cost-slashing rampage, the council passed a resolution mandating that the Town no longer would pay its contribution to the Town Manager and the government’s department heads.

But in the contract, as drawn up, that distinction was not made.

The effect of the miscue would cause Wilbrecht to lose a “significant” amount of retirement money, said Town Attorney Andrew Morris.

The council began to discuss the matter until councilman Rick Wood pulled the pack back, saying personnel matters should not be discussed in public.

Thus, today the council will patch together a closed session, partly in person and partly by conference call, to iron out the situation.

Wilbrecht, meanwhile, is in Bend, Ore. today, but said he really had no interest in attending the closed session, although he was invited.

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