Friday, February 29, 2008

POWER OF AN APPOINTED OFFICIAL OVER AN ELECTED OFFICIAL

I have waited for sometime to post this. But a couple of incidents have occurred, which made it necessary so everyone can understand what is going on in Heber City Utah. And why so many citizens are asking the most important question of the day: "Where are the people who have been elected to run this City, and why have they not done their duty and perfected their service?"

Another firestorm has been started by the questionable actions of the Heber City Manager. It seems he has forgotten his role as a City Manager or is he the Mayor?
Give him though, the benefit of the doubt, supposedly he has been subbing for the Mayor for a long time. And it is easy to see how he could be confused.

In one breath he is called the City Manager and in the next, the Mayor gives him the Mayor’s authority, a very confusing situation for everyone. The Mayor delegates his power?
This type of delegation, brings up a very interesting question. Can a sitting Mayor delegate his power to a non-elected official?

In trying to answer this question, the Heber City Municipal Code must be reviewed. In 2.08.020, item A, we find the following: “The mayor shall preside at all meetings and in case of the mayor’s temporary absence or disability, the City Council shall elect one of its number to act as mayor pro tem, who during such absence or disability, shall possess the power of mayor.”
Many usually interpret this statement to apply to the weekly meetings. But, could it be construed, to also mean, the council has the mayor’s authority when the Mayor is out of the City, and therefore, he, meaning the mayor, cannot confer such power, to a non-member of the city council or one who is not elected?

In looking for the duties of the City Manager, we read the following from the Heber City Code: 2.14.040, item3. “The governing body may not delegate to the manager: The mayors’ legislative or judicial powers;”
Now, if the Council cannot delegate to the manager, the power of the mayor, can the mayor delegate to the city manager, the mayor’s power?
Keep in mind the meaning of “judicial”, which according to Black’s Law Dictionary is: “An act which involves exercise of discretion or judgment.”
Now, if the mayor cannot confer his power, and the City Council cannot confer their power, or the power of the mayor to the City Manager, where would he get his power to hire someone, without the advice and consent of the City Council?

Once again, the City Manager of Heber City has demonstrated his propensity to violate the limits of his power and move into dangerous territory that demonstrates his belief that he is a King rather than a Servant.

Now everyone can see what the latest firestorm is all about. The City Manager, without advice and consent of the City Council, has taken upon himself to hire an Airport Manager.
The mayor’s office or even the City Council will not be able to cover the City Manager on this issue. It is obvious, the activities of the City Manager in the hiring, did not include the advice and the consent of the Mayor or the City Council. And if they did not advise or consent, will they do so after the fact, to save the City Manager?
And now citizens are finding out, the new appointee has at least two relatives already working for the City. Does that look right?

The bigger question must be raised again: Where is the City Council on this issue? This is not the first time, the City Manager, has gone off on a crusade and done his thing.

Heber Citizens should know, the current city manager, by virtue of the Heber City Code, regarding the city manager, which our current manager wrote, gives him more power than any other City Manager in the State of Utah.
Careful reading of 2.14.040, sections D, E, F, G, H, I, and J. Show we do not need a City Council, a Mayor and a few other people. The city manager is empowered to do it all.
But is he? It seems City Managers will do as much as they can get away with, so unless there are some sharp, knowledgeable, elected officials to supervise, and make sure the law is obeyed, City Managers run amok.

One of the problems the citizens have, is the city manager, by the current code, is allowed to serve as a non-elected council person, but with out any accountability to citizens who supposedly he was appointed to serve.

The Mayor, it seems, is unwilling or unable to control or otherwise resolve the issues found in this City.
And where are the five that were elected to serve. At this point, they seem to be rubber stamps and simple “yes” people. Perhaps in the present environment, that is now found in Heber City Government, the citizens may be seeing the reason the present council is not needed. The people can get tape recorders to say “yes” at the right time.

And what about the City employees, who have had to endure the ravings of the City Manager. The employees, according to sources, have been threatened with their jobs if they speak to the press or talk to anyone outside of the City office. It must be evident to some people, that Heber City Government has grown faster in the percentages, than the population. Is this evidence of some ole fashioned kingdom building or poor government?

Between the problems the city is having with fences, which the City Manager has put in his two-cents, and tried to run roughshod, with staff and other misguided individuals, over certain boards plus threatening employees, changing items that have come from the planning commission to the city council (remember they are the board, the only board, of recommendation to the Heber City Council), hiring without the advice and consent of the City council. Manipulation of funds, so it appears, that we need a tax increase, yet, there seems to be enough seed money to build a new city hall. And the loss of employees, plus the hiring practices of requiring more from an applicant, but hiring less. It is time for the City Council to come to the aid of the citizens, show they care and they want to do the right thing. Perhaps, part of the right thing may mean sending Mr. Anderson down the road. And at the same time taking control of the Mayor until the next election. And this needs to be done quickly, so the city Manager does not get another three-year contract, which the citizens will have to pay for.

The call is now out for the City Council to do their job. Investigate the problems, correct them, and houseclean as well. Anything less, will demonstrate to the citizens, what many have suspected for some time, the current administration does not care. They are not in charge. And they love using rubber stamps.

The citizens of Heber City, elected three new faces on the Council. Where are they? Investigating that issue, shows the citizens may have made a mistake. We are seeing no service. No questioning of what is going on. No obvious taking control. So unless things change, the citizens may have been better off leaving the old council people in place.

The plea is, the City Council should start taking control. Let the citizens know, you are there to do the right thing. Get rid of 2.14 of the city code and if you elect to hire another manager, make sure he knows his place and understands the law that he will be operating under.
And perhaps, maybe the people will start to have confidence in their elected officials.

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