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West Jordan Journal

City Council: Bullies, Tattletales And Liars

May 20, 2015 07:55PM ● By Bryan Scott
Editorial By Bryan Scott

West Jordan - I am sure there are plenty of publishers and editors within the newspaper industry that love the opportunity to write an editorial. I am not one of those individuals. I like the facts, I like everything above board and in the open.  So today I find myself having to write an editorial for the first time in my career. This frustrates me at best. 

Recently it has become very clear that the West Jordan City Council has a damaging divide. I fully realize that these elected and appointed officials are in their respective positions to allow for effective government, and that as individuals they will have varying opinions and disagreements. In the United States we have accepted that this is politics, particularly on the federal level. 

That said, what is currently going on inside City Hall is much less acceptable. 5 versus 2 or 2 versus 5. That is what we have within our city council as of today. It doesn’t take long for anyone attending a council meeting to quickly realize this. 

I have had the opportunity over the last year and half to meet Mayor Rolfe and have built what I would call a professional friendship with him. I have felt that the Mayor has been honest and open with me. I have also gotten to know Councilman Haaga, whom I also feel has been honest and open with me. So imagine my distaste when over the last week as I start to drill down into some of the topics plaguing the council and city, I find that much of what these two have stated is either half truth, a shadow of the truth, or an outright lie. 

At this point the best way I can describe these two’s actions through their dealings with city business, is like two school kids with their finger pointing at the other kids, fully knowing they have four fingers pointing back at themselves. It seems that they are quick, if not eager, to blame others of wrong doings when they have clearly committed plenty of their own.

But it is hard to blame these two completely, when there is another side, right? Although maybe not said directly the other faction here believe that the Mayor (and Councilman Haaga) are over stepping their bounds, particularly the bounds and powers of the Mayor.  Well, if this is true then why have the other five not taken action?  What have they done to stop this abuse? From what I can see, very little. 

Councilman Southworth, you took your office promising under oath that you would do what is best for the City of West Jordan. But you standby nearly idle when you believe your mayor runs rogue.  You sat on the council and placed the position of the mayor as a full-time employee with a salary costing the city over $100,000 per year. Now it is time to reign in that position and you have openly stated you will not seek reelection. If you don’t clean this up, who will?

If what you say about the Mayor is correct, why would you idly standby and not fix the issue you helped create. Why would you leave your position now, knowing that the very person you think is trying to bully power from the council may gain power through your departure. 

So just to be clear.

Mayor Rolfe: Shame on you if you are operating within your position with little regard to the city code that addresses such. Shame on you for hiding behind half-truths and closed-door sessions and active investigations. Shame on you if you took a position as Mayor if you didn’t plan on operating within the powers of the office.

Councilman Haaga: Shame on you if you are encouraging and/or acting less than professional. Shame on you if you are pushing for an investigation on a former council-member for taking a job or personally benefiting from his position, if you yourself know that you have personally benefited from your identical position. 

Councilmen Southworth and Nichols: Shame on you if you are going around and telling media and individuals that the Mayor (and Councilman Hagga) are operating outside their powers, if you are not actively trying to stop it. Shame on the both of you if you are leaving your office, knowing that by leaving you may be doing what is worse for the city. Shame on you if don’t take action against someone you describe as a bully.

Without a doubt I am sure that each of these individuals will say that I am wrong. They will show evidence that make it appear that I am wrong. I implore each and every resident of West Jordan to look at these pieces of evidence and ask yourself if it is the complete truth, or is it another shadow game or half truth?  I write this to help inform the public, encourage them to research and get involved. Because the next time I write on this matter, I don’t want to have to say Shame on the Residents. All these individuals that lie to you once, shame on them. Allow it again , shame on you. 

Here is an idea. Let’s get past this. Let’s clear up the definition of the responsibilities, duties, and powers of the Mayor. Let’s make sure that each and every one of our city officials, elected or appointed are operating in such a manner, which is consistent with what is best for the City. Let’s remember why you are there.