West Jordan - Over the last few weeks, I have realized that even our local politicians have taken up a certain dance that can only be described as the “D.C. two step.” It has come to the point where I now expect to not get an answer from these individuals, at least not a real answer. It seems that right now they have three main plays in their playbook:
1) Hide behind closed-door sessions: Over the last year and half this seems to be the primary tactic. The city recorder told us that in 2014 the council carried out 25 of these secret sessions. These meetings are allowed under state and federal law but are restricted to certain topics. At the last meeting they kept the public waiting over 30 minutes while they were in closed-door session.
2) Peek a Boo: This strategy is used by showing us only what they want us to see and then act like if they don’t say something then it just doesn’t exist. I have referred to this tactic in the past as half-truth or a shadow game.
3) Attorney Client Privilege: This is a new play that has entered the game in the last few weeks. Now, city officials and staff members are stating that if they are emailing or talking to the City Attorney’s office that such communication is protected under Attorney Client Privileges. Jumping from one legal barricade to another is a battle that we at the Journals are not going to play. We will ask the questions. If they want to lie to us or not, or bombard us with sticky, half-truths, then we will simply let them answer for their actions when the truth prevails
Laws require politicians to hold meetings in an open and public forum. This allows transparency into the actions of the staff and elected officials.
Why was Jeff Robinson put on administrative leave? It took us long enough to find out who put the City Attorney on leave, which seems to come down to Mayor Rolfe. Let’s never mind the argument that the Mayor may have done this without proper authorization and simply ask why he was put on leave? Some tell us he was under investigation, some say that he is not under investigation and that it was a personal disagreement between the Mayor and City Attorney for his whistle blowing on Judge Kunz, who is a friend of Mayor Rolfe.
Why is the City considering paying him $80,000 in a separation agreement? I recently received an email from a city council member that had an attached document, which was a draft of a separation agreement between the City and Jeff Robinson (City Attorney who is currently on administrative leave.) I can see only two reasons why the city would agree to this: either someone at the city did something wrong and the city owes it to Jeff Robinson or our city administration does not care about spending tax dollars. $80,000 Dollars is more than the average wage of a West Jordan resident. Should the city be considering giving Jeff Robinson this amount of money? And if so, why and who should be responsible for the cost?
Council Members, Mayor and staff: it’s time to act like local politicians, leave Washington politics for Washington Politicians. You were elected by Utahans to manage this city. I believe the citizens of this city would like to see you act as such, using fairness, honesty and transparency.
That said, in the last council meeting that I attended I did see some signs of improvement. It appeared to me that certain members of the council and staff were working to make things better. I know that these types of personal/professional disagreements cannot be fixed at a flick of a switch, but small actions can go a long away.
I hope these actions continue and I hope that the council and staff decide to be more transparent to the people of West Jordan. This is what the tax payers deserve.
Last month I challenged each of the council members to submit a letter to the editor, not one council member did. I would like to challenge the City Staff and Council to a special interview. I believe that at the end of the day, when the truth is needed, it is best to put everyone in the same room and ask the questions that are needed. I would ask the Staff and Council to agree to a group interview, where our staff can ask the questions that need to be answered. These individuals have the ability to suspend the rules and agree that nothing is secret and agree to full transparency. It seems that each of them is pointing the finger at someone else. If there is wrongdoing, the taxpayers deserve to know who’s involved.