In a recent editorial in a small town newspaper, opinion was submitted to their readers, when carefully read, pointed out how little the editorial writer knew of the workings of Heber City Government. The editor believed the Issue was: “Heber City’s Council wants all the Power.” Little did the writer know, that Heber City Council already has all the Power by code, and are now trying to wrestle it back from the impostors.
It is obvious the writer of the editorial has not done due diligence reviewing the law instead of accepting someone’s idea of what the law might say.
Yes, there is a power struggle going on. But, the cause and the reason is based on the desire of one person who wants to continue doing nothing and one person who wants to do everything, and the council who by law, must guide the city and be responsible.
Recent problems within the City, show that certain ones, still want the status quo, so the current struggle is really over right and wrong. Those on the wrong side are willing to do anything, to keep the status quo and to continue spending money and losing money on projects and issues, of dubious value. They continue to cover for each other and relish not being accountable or in some cases, law abiding.
The thoughts and words for the editorial must have come from someone else who knew as little as the editor. Suspicion has it, based previous printed material, that most of the ideas came from the words of the Mayor and a few misinformed staff members over the last few months.
Today, the Mayor feels threatened, because it seems that if changes take place as currently proposed, he would actually have to provide some leadership and really be a Mayor.
A reasonable person will find it easy to conclude, that if a City Council decides to do something, the Mayor will have provide some real leadership. He is capable of doing it, but so far has not. Council actions as they are proposed, places him in some unfamiliar territory, since for years he has allowed the City Manager to make Mayor decisions, and such action has been covered by the Mayor and a very lazy city council. So when someone says the Mayor lacks leadership, it is not a personal attack, since he has allowed someone else to take his power and he no problem with them using it. When someone says the Mayor and the Councils of the past have been lazy, this is not a personal attack on either one, since the minutes support this actuality. If the Editorial writer had spent some time looking at the minutes, conclusions such as those drawn in the editorial would have been cast aside.
Until a new council came on the scene and started asking questions and seeking information, as they should, the citizens of Heber City were hoodwinked in the past, into thinking, the actions they had seen were the real workings of how a City Government should operate.
The editorial writer accuses the Council of not thinking and then making questionable decisions. This accusation is actually what the Mayor and City Manager said in a public meeting a few months ago. So is the editorial writer really in touch with the government, by looking at the codes, or just accepting second hand information? Would this information really be two handed, one hand from the Mayor and one hand from the City Manager?
What is the City Council really being accused of?
The editorial writer accuses a City Council member of wanting to change the form of Government. No such thing is proposed. In fact to change the form of government requires a vote from the Citizens. And no such vote was taken in 1998, when that council proposed the office of City Manager and since that time, no proposal has been made to do so, although to support certain things and actions, there are those misinformed simpletons, who suggest the government was changed. No City Council has proposed such nonsense. (see minutes from the 1998 council meetings when the office of City Manager was proposed)
The editorial writer discuses as if hey know the different authorities of Heber City Government and how they should operate. When one reads the following, it is obvious who does what and when.
Section 2.04.010 Form.
The municipal government of the city is vested in a mayor and city council and a
city manager. The city council and mayor shall be chosen by the qualified voters of the
city. The city council shall be composed of five council members. (Ord. 2003-25, 2003;
Ord. 98-19, 1998; Ord. 91-05, 1991; Prior code §2-1) (2003-25, Amended, 11/20/2003; 98-19, Amended, 10/15/1998)
The above is taken from the Code of Heber City and the changes made were of recent vintage. 1998 and 2003 when the words “city manager” were included. It should make every citizen worried, you vote for a Mayor and you vote for a Council, but how do you make the City Manager accountable to the voters, if the City Council covers for him as they have in the past and the Mayor protects his decisions, even when they are questionable?
The following from the Heber City Code, outlines what the Mayor can do.
Section 2.08.010 General Duties.
The mayor shall perform the duties which are, or may be prescribed by law, or by
ordinance, and shall see that the laws and ordinances are faithfully executed. (Prior code §2-4)
Section 2.08.020 Mayor Pro Tem--Filling of Vacancy.
A. 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.
B. If a vacancy shall occur in the office of mayor, the city council shall elect a
mayor who shall possess all the rights and powers of mayor until the next municipal election and until a successor is elected and qualified. (Ord. 2003-25, 2003; Ord. 98-19, 1998; Ord. 91-05,1991; Prior code §2-2)
(2003-25, Amended, 11/20/2003; 98-19, Amended, 10/15/1998)
Section 2.08.030 Presiding Officer.
The mayor shall preside at all meetings of the city council, but shall not vote except in
the case of a tie, when he/she shall cast the deciding vote. (Ord. 91-05, 1991; Prior code §2-3)
Section 2.08.050 Appointive Authority.
The mayor shall, by and with the advice and consent of the city council, appoint all
appointive officers provided for by the city ordinances and by statute, and shall appoint all committees authorized by ordinance or resolution of the city council. (Prior code §2-6
If the editorial writer had read the code, instead of hearing the code, and even that was filtered, they would have understood the role of the Mayor.
Now the City Council:
Section 2.12.010 Powers and Duties Generally.
The city council shall perform such duties and have such powers as are now
prescribed, or as may hereafter be prescribed by law or ordinance. (Prior code §2-8)
Section 2.12.020 Regular Meetings.
The governing body shall conduct two regular meetings which shall be held on the first
and third Thursdays of each month at the Heber City Municipal Building at 75 North Main Street, which meetings shall begin promptly at seven p.m.; but if the meeting date is a legal
holiday, then the meeting shall be held at the same time and place described in this section on the day next following that is not a legal holiday. (Ord. 91-05, 1991; Ord. 85-227 §1, 1985: Ord. 83-007 §1, 1983)
Section 2.12.030 Special Meetings.
A. The mayor or any two members of the city council may call a special meeting of
the city council by giving written notice of such meeting to each member of the city council, served personally or left at the councilmember's residence.
B. No vote of the city council shall be reconsidered or rescinded at a special
meeting unless, at such special meeting, there is present as large a number of councilmembers as were present when such vote was taken. (Ord. 91-05, 1991; Prior code §§2-10, 2-13)
Section 2.12.040 Meetings Open to the Public--Voting.
A. The city council shall sit with open doors and shall keep minutes of its
own proceedings provided that it may, when deemed advisable, sit behind closed doors
for the discussion among the members of those matters of interest to the city eligible for
closed session per Utah State Code.
B. The vote by yeas and nays shall be taken upon the passage of all
ordinances, resolutions, and all propositions to create any liability against the city, and in
all other cases at the request of any member, which shall be entered in the minutes of
C. The concurrence of a majority of the members elected to the city council
shall be necessary to the passage of any such ordinance or proposition. (Ord. 2003-25,
2003; Ord. 91-05, 1991; Prior code §2-11)
(2003-25, Amended, 11/20/2003)
Section 2.12.050 Filling of Vacancies.
If any vacancy occurs in the office of a councilmember for any reason, such vacancy
shall be filled by appointment by the city council for the unexpired term or by an interim
appointment by the city council followed by an election to fill a two-year term in accordance with the requirements of the Utah Code. (Ord. 91-05, 1991; Amended during 1989 codification: prior code §2-12)
In reading the codes, it proffers one to ask this question: “Which office could Heber City be without and continue to operate?”
The last item of the editorial shows lots of misinformation and words to support an idea, which by the way, are the exact words used by the Mayor in a recent meeting, to attack council members over rotation of the board appointments and the so called money they receive for serving.
The minutes and statements of past elected officials support the following facts.
Mayors for years, have used the appointive process for the boards to “pay back” certain council members for their acceptance of doing the Mayor’s bidding. Keep in mind, the Mayor does not vote, but every Mayor worth his salt has had a council member as his go-to-guy. In the case of Mayor Phllips, that council person seems to be Robert Patterson. Current reading of the minutes, show, since Mr. Patterson has been on the Council, he has voted with the Mayor’s ideas, 100 percent of the time.
In creating the reward, there are certain boards that pay more than others and some council members, the minutes reflect this, have never been allowed to serve on a particular higher paying board. Is it because they are not a team player with the Mayor’s team?
It is strange when one understands, the council is over the various boards and if they are not allowed to serve on a particular board from time to time, how will they learn the inter-workings of an agency they may be over?
It is a ridiculous idea, to suggest it is communistic to rotate the service of the Council on the boards and to pool the money received.
The editorial in the end tries to suggest that by putting all the money in one place, is robbing someone of their hard work. Read the minutes of the boards, there is no such thing as hard work. There may be some work, such as coming prepared to discuss an issue, but minutes of the various boards do not suggest that it is hard. And one last item for the editorial writer and the citizens who might read this Blog., many of the boards pay their members, even if they are not attending.
Our editorial writer should think of this: Should the boards be composed of citizens, who pay the bills and are directly affected by an action of a particular board or should we continue to have only elected officials on the boards? Does one become a genius the day after an election?
The words “simpleton”, “absurd and infantile” are really more reflective of the editorial, than any action taken by the current City Council.
Those who attend the meetings, read the minutes, listen to the discussions, ask questions and make contact with those they have elected, will find a wealth of information that will protect them from being misled and labeled a simpleton.