Development Director to keep position following ethics investigation
Summit County Manager Bob Jasper said he will not be firing Community Development Director Don Sargent despite the findings of an ethics investigation conducted by the Cache County District Attorney.
In a letter from Cache County District Attorney James Swink to Summit County District Attorney David Brickey, Swink says after reviewing information regarding Sargent’s personal and work actions while acting as a public servant, it is "strongly recommended Mr. Sargent be terminated from employment."
According to Brickey, the investigation began after Summit County resident Mike Brown filed a complaint against Sargent.
"The initial investigation lead to further discovery of incidents which we decided to have the Cache County Attorney’s office investigate because of the obvious relationship between our office and Sargent," Brickey said.
Other complaints against Sargent included a fellow employee saying she was afraid to report certain building code violations that Sargent committed when building a structure in 2009 because she thought he would fire her.
An excerpt from the letter states "She describes the enforcement of setback violations and her hesitance in enforcing the setback violation committed by Don Sargent because of her fear that he would let her go."
Swink wrote that he does not suggest Sargent be charged with official misconduct because the actions detailed in the report happened outside the statute of limitations and prosecution was not recommended.
The letter goes on to say that "His [Sargent] violation of the Development Code is also reprehensible as he is the person in the position to enforce the County’s Development Code, and he intentionally built a structure he knew violated it."
Sargent said the investigation began because someone was upset by building department decisions that were made and he does not believe he did anything wrong. He has since taken down the structure that violated the code.
Jasper declined to further comment on personnel matters.
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Arlene Loble served as the Park City manager in the 1980s, a pivotal period that prepared the community for the boom years that would follow in the 1990s. Loble, who recently died, is credited with introducing a level of professionalism to the municipal government that was needed amid the growth challenges.