A recent article in the local paper criticized a member of the Heber City Council for making an issue out of the fact, the Heber City Police participated as a private security group.
Everyone must understand, that every police officer in order to make a living has found it necessary to hold a second job. We ask them to risk their lives, but we do not want to pay, we would rather put the money in new buildings and salaries for those that do little except spend money and make deals. But the kind of work the Police do in their off hours has become the issue for the last couple of months in Heber City.
The problem came to a head last Thursday, but was not reported as a factual presentation, since according to a number of people, the local paper did not have a presence at that council meeting. It is suspected the article was written by either the Mayor or the City Manager and then rewritten by the reporter. This is not uncommon. It has happened more times than not. The public just does not know. The articles they write are not unbiased and contained items that made certain ones look good by design and likewise make others look as if they are a problem.
At issue in the last City Council meeting was a report by the City Attorney addressing issues involving Pride Security and the Heber City Police Department.
One of the issues, is whether the Heber City Police broke any laws in obtaining the Security Contract with the Heber Valley Railroad.
According the article in the local paper, it was the City Manager and the Mayor who responded to Councilman Horner after he suggested that rules and policy had been broken.
The City Manager and the Mayor made it a point to say that City rules had not been broken, so in effect, it was no harm, no foul.
But wait a minute! State rules of conduct were broken and where does the City Manager and the Mayor get off in condoning the Police Department working as security personnel and in that employment using City vehicles, tax dollar purchases such a weapons, radios in police vehicles and portable radios and so forth?
The Question that should be asked of the City Manager and the Mayor is: “If you can condone this, why are you so upset when an employee wants to use the backhoe or a dump truck to clean his or her yard?
It is obvious, that perhaps no rules were broken as far as the Mayor and City Manager were concerned. But where is their concern over the use of items purchased by tax dollars.
Mr. Mayor and Mr. City Manager, you are wrong. You knew what was going on and did nothing to stop it. And now you want to justify your actions by saying no rules were broken as far as the City was concerned. What we need in this matter is honesty not politics. If this is your belief, then perhaps your resignations would be in order since you saw no problem or cared. The minutes of a number of meetings, where there was a presentations by the City Manager with the blessing of the Mayor, shows a lack of concern, accountability and transparency and in some cases the Council was told just enough to get the vote. Which left the council with problems, so much so, that when they have been asked about certain items, statements have been made, that “if we had known then what we know now, we would have not voted for the project or the change“. So how much more will the citizens find out, that you have dismissed problems with “no harm no foul.”?
The public needs to read the following which is page 10 of an opinion by the City Attorney involving the police department and a conversation between the Mayor and the manager of the Heber Valley Railroad. What you will read is an employee being pushed into making a decision, not on friendship, but a train board member, speaking to one who would have a miserable life, if he failed to follow the suggestions of said board member.
And the last paragraph is of great concern, since it shows the need to save ones employment so he must “go along to get along“, and he wants all us to believe he was not influenced? You be the judge. Keep in mind, that problems like this are common place with the City Manager and the Mayor. They see no wrong in their decisions and will go to great lengths to cover, misdirect, and misspeak in an effort to save themselves so they can avoid public scrutiny which is the very thing they need.
The big question is how much longer before we see an end to this gang of two with the help of two other yes men on the council. We have lost millions, there are businesses in the valley who will no longer work for or with Heber City, due to actions of the City Manager and the Mayor.
Heber City is incapable of balancing a budget. There are to many sacred cows. To many promises and way too many cover ups. There is a need for some action to stop this mess and get the City back on an even course. The morale of City employees, the police department and others is so low, that one can only conclude now is the time for a leadership change, new direction and getting serious about problem solving.
The following is from Page 10 of a report from the City Attorney entitled EXECUTIVE SUMARY.
3. Pride felt that after it was hired by the Train in 2009 for security, representatives of the City approached personnel of the Train and applied some pressure that caused the Train to hire back the City officers the next year without Pride being given a chance to bid for 2010.
Finding: During May of 2009, when the “Thomas the Train” security contract was awarded to Pride by the Train, instead as had historically been done, some officers complained to the Heber City Chief of Police. In May 2009, the Chief contacted Craig Lacey HVRR and inquired as to why the change. He implied he was disappointed and emphasized that his officers depended upon that extra work
to supplement their income, and had done so for many years. Perry Rose acknowledged that the Train had always been afforded the local officers in the past. Money was paid directly to officers. No officers have or currently individually work as security officers by themselves. Any such employment is either through Heber City or another private security company.
Subsequently, Lacey and the Mayor, in the course of a regular rail road business meeting were talking and the topic came up. Lacey indicated to the Mayor that he had not made the decision regarding the 2009 hire, but that a woman from his office had set up the event contract with Pride, but he had [not] approved it.
The Mayor indicated that with the shrinking budgets and the officers not having been given any raises, and the minimal over-time opportunities less attainable, he was being approached by officers and the Chief. The Mayor expressed concern and disappointment that the Train had not used the City Police as had been done historically, and asked that the Train consider the City with any other bids in the future. There were no other contacts by the City to the Train. Lacey called the Chief just prior to the 2010 season and offered the security work to Heber City Police.
Pride then contracted HVRR about hiring the Police over them.
Lacey indicated that he did not feel undue political pressure to hire Heber City over Pride nor did he feel pressured by any City officials in considering whom to award the security contract. Lacy
It is important to keep in mind, the meeting between the Mayor of Heber City and Craig Lacey of the HVRR was in conjunction with a board meeting. Here you have one board member speaking with the Manager of the Train. For Mr. Lacey to say he felt no pressure, is like saying since the police were on the street, in large numbers, there was no pressure to not speed.
As for the Thursday meeting of the Heber City Council where the Mayor and the City Manager say there were no Heber laws broken, what about state laws which not only should leaders had known about, but such laws had been brought to the attention of the City Manager by Pride Security . The City Manager and Mayor made a conscious decision to ignore the laws either out of not wanting to know, which is serious, or out of a “I don’t care attitude which is just as serious for the liability that could have come to the City. There will be some who will say, there was no problem, but these are the same people, that when problems happen are either no where to be found or are busy looking for scrape goats.
No laws broken, but it was ok for the tax payers to pay for the equipment used. Are there principles of right and wrong here, or is this politics as usual with a large helping of lets cover for each other?