Guest Editorial | ParkRecord.com

Guest Editorial

Bob RicherSummit County Commissioner

The Summit County Commission has made numerous attempts to work with Summit Water Distribution Company. To correct the public record regarding Mr. Stuart A. Knowles’ (Summit Water Distribution Company Board Member) comments in the guest editorial in Saturday’s Park Record:

1. I asked Bill Brown, local community activist and all-around good guy, to intercede and act as an intermediary to initiate settlement negotiations with Summit Water shortly after I was elected to office.

2.

Bill and I, with the assistance of our legal staff, submitted to Mr. Bob Campbell, attorney for Summit Water, a stipulation and participation agreement, which attempted to set aside the pending lawsuit to allow settlement discussions. It contained the following: "Whereas, the parties desire to engage in discussions, settlement negotiations and the exchange of information pursuant to Rule 408 of the Utah Rules of Evidence, freely and without prejudice, in order to explore alternatives to litigation that might result in resolution of the disputes between the parties from which this litigation arises "

3. Bill’s transmittal letter of March 17, 2003 to Mr. Campbell stated in part, "We want to be able to listen, talk, exchange information and explain alternatives outside of the current litigation."

4. Our signed stipulation letter was never returned to us by Mr. Campbell, nor were any modifications to the agreement suggested by Summit Water.

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5. I initiated a meeting with Summit Water to hear their side of the anti-trust litigation and to discuss possible settlement solutions on March 28, 2003. Present at the meeting were various representatives of Summit Water including Hy Saunders and Bob Campbell. I represented the county, along with Bill Brown, Jim Carbine, general manager of Mountain Regional Water, and our legal counsel, George Hunt.

6. At my urging, a second meeting was held with Summit Water representatives on April 10, 2003. Commissioner Ken Woolstenhulme attended the meeting representing the county.

7. In late June of 2003, I scheduled another meeting with Summit Water. Prior to the meeting, the county was blindsided by yet another lawsuit from Summit Water, naming Commissioner Woolstenhulme and me as individual defendants. (This action was later dismissed in favor of Summit County by order of the District Court on Dec. 29, 2003 and affirmed on appeal on Feb. 17, 2005.)

8. It was clear from this legal action that Summit Water was not willing to seriously discuss settlement options.

9. The county decisions leading to the Summit Water anti-trust litigation, whether right or wrong, took place years before Commissioner Woolstenhulme and I took office.

10. It takes two to negotiate. The county always has been and continues to be open to legitimate settlement discussions. We have taken the initiative in the past.

Mr. Knowles has a right to express his views. I only ask that in the future, he will make a stronger effort to get his facts straight.

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