Candidate complains that talk was kept secret
The Summit County Commission violated Utah open meetings laws when an important discussion Sept. 10 was not properly placed on an agenda, a political candidate claims.
The agenda Sept 10 should have explained that a discussion would occur about the powers of the controversial new Summit County manager who will be named next year.
"I got there at 10 a.m. and found out they had had this extremely important discussion," said Republican Parkite Alison Pitt about the meeting in Coalville. "I’m waiting for the County Commission to self correct on this."
A meeting agenda insufficiently identified the discussion about the county manager as a "Joint meeting with Management Team," Pitt explained in an interview.
"The same anxiety that the management team has the public has too," Pitt said.
The form of government in Summit County is slated to change in 2008 from the three-person Summit County Commission to a five-member council and hired manager.
"It’s something that needs to be an open process," Pitt said.
She will vie in November for seat D on the Summit County Council against Snyderville Basin Democrat Chris Robinson and Jeremy Ranch resident Gary Shumway, a member of the Constitution Party.
"Not just as a candidate I was upset as a voter," Pitt said about the county’s lapse in appropriately noticing the discussion last week.
She even formally complained to Summit County Attorney David Brickey, a Republican who lives in the Snyderville Basin.
"I am writing to you to complain that your discussion [Sept. 10] and the handout was not properly listed on your meeting agenda dated [Sept. 10]," states a Sept. 11 letter Pitt sent to Brickey and the Summit County Commission. "I formally request an opinion from [Brickey] regarding compliance with the Utah Open Meetings Act requirements. The item was completely absent from the published agenda."
But the agenda was legal, Brickey countered.
"The public was invited So I’m sorry Alison didn’t come," Brickey said about reporters and a lawyer from Park City who attended the session. "I think this is a misunderstanding is all … We’ll certainly comply with, and have done so, with all open meeting requirements for notification."
Another similar presentation is planned, he said.
"[Summit County commissioners] asked another presentation be scheduled This was a decision made prior to receiving [Pitt’s] letter," Brickey explained.
Robinson, one of Pitt’s political opponents, didn’t attend the discussion and said he couldn’t say whether the meeting was legally noticed.
"It should be an open and transparent process," Robinson said. "I don’t see that there is any reason not to do it that way."
Meanwhile, Shumway said he glanced last week at the meeting agenda.
"I would agree with [Pitt.] My first response is: What’s the management team?" he said. "That would not be open to the pubic and that would not pertain to me."
The description on the agenda was not clear, he said.
"Because it said management team and I as the general public am not management team at this juncture," Shumway said.
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