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Transparency

September 25, 2013

In light of Marianna Marysheva-Martinez’s resignation this past week and the rumors leading up to her decision, we’ve witnessed the reactions of our passionate Mammoth citizens, not just to the fact of her resignation, but also to how the whole thing happened.

To put it bluntly, the reactions tell us, not very well.

The town council held several closed-session meetings the past few months, most with little notice, and when the news of the possible dismissal of Marysheva-Martinez emerged last week, it shocked the community.

What shocked these concerned citizens as much was the rumor of replacing her with local businessman—and friend to many on the council—Tom Cage.

We were equally as shocked.

There’s a common belief that once the hormones surrounding anything regarding the things Mammothites are passionate about—and that’s just about everything—calm down a bit, having a thoughtful dialogue about the community’s future would present solid solutions. That would (ideally) lead to solid decisions.

Prior to that time, any idea one person proposes will invariably strike someone else as offensive or threatening, causing the “not in my backyard” process to kick in.

But that same idea can also strike someone else as genius.

Sometimes.

That doesn’t seem to be the case in Mammoth, mostly because we never reach thoughtful dialogue.

That goes back to transparency. It is hard to have a dialogue when the citizens don’t know what’s going on.

When they found out this time, they started to make phone calls, they wrote letters, and they emailed other concerned citizens.

They started to ask questions.

Why would anyone want to get rid of one of the most qualified persons in town government? She was recruited and hired when the town desperately needed someone with proven experience and the ability to guide a town through impending bankruptcy, and she did.

We were surprised there was a soul out there who wanted to take the job in the first place.

Marysheva-Martinez took a job that required her to make several difficult decisions, but someone had to make them.

Difficult decisions don’t make you popular.

Naturally, after she submitted a letter of resignation (we don’t blame her), more questions emerged.

What’s with holding closed-session meetings at 5 p.m. the day before a three-day weekend or holiday? What’s with all these government employees leaving?

How can a town be successful when it gets a new town manager every few years?

How much money does it cost to settle contracts?

How is the town going to move forward without a town manager, a community development director, or a public works director?

Will there be due process for the recruitment and selection of a new town manager?

Whose best intentions does the council really have in mind?

Why aren’t there term limits set in place for council members? How do we go about implementing them?

What does the procedure look like to recall an entire town council?

With so many passions, the will of the people in Mammoth might be hard to capture, but one thing is clear: we want transparency in our government, and we’re not getting it.

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