Park City official insinuates some may be interfering with municipal government
City councilor expresses worry about the undermining of democracy, public process
A member of the Park City Council on Thursday evening delivered vague comments appearing to insinuate there may be people attempting to hinder the work of City Hall and, it seemed afterward, the elected officials could address the topic in a future closed-door discussion.
City Councilor Jeremy Rubell’s comments at a meeting at the Marsac Building were unexpected. Rubell, a first-term member of the City Council who lacked experience in Park City politics prior to his 2021 City Hall campaign, spoke briefly and ambiguously. He indicated toward the beginning of the comments the subject may be more appropriate for a closed meeting.
Rubell inquired about holding “a discussion regarding our role . . . in upholding local and state code relating to folks interfering with the administration of government.”
“It undermines, really, democracy and the public process. It loses public trust. We have to get away from selective enforcement of these things. It’s a disservice to the community, undermines checks and balances. All that kind of bad stuff happens,” he said.
Rubell did not outline allegations of people or businesses that may, according to him, be attempting to interfere with the municipal government. The comments, though, were made in the period after a late-December dispute between Rubell and cross-country skiers that led prosecutors to file a misdemeanor charge against him. The criminal case is pending. Rubell has described the claims against him as being “absolutely false.” A not-guilty plea has been entered in the case and a court date is scheduled in March.
It was not clear whether the case influenced any of the comments by Rubell on Thursday.
Some of the other city councilors did not appear to understand Rubell’s initial statements.
“Well, there’s state codes around interfering with the administration of government. And there’s been some behavior recently which may impact or fall in the bucket of those codes, but I’m no attorney, didn’t even take an online class or anything,” he said in an explanation.
He also said: “What I’m asking is if council would be willing to have that discussion with the city attorney, so that if that behavior is happening in our community that we correct it before it undermines, essentially, the function of government here.”
Another City Councilor, Tana Toly, responded by inquiring, “Are you saying that we need to understand it, like we’re doing something wrong?”
Rubell indicated that was not the case.
“No, not that council’s doing anything wrong. Just a conversation around the state codes and statutes and see if they apply to any current situations,” he said.
It seems unlikely Mayor Nann Worel and the City Council in a public meeting would address any detailed issues Rubell may eventually broach. State law allows a government body like a city council to address legal matters in closed-door sessions. Any criminal or civil cases that are filed in court, though, would be expected to be public proceedings.
The elected officials are regularly criticized in various forums, but a potential claim by a city councilor involving interference with the administration of the government is highly unusual.
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