Smooth sailing for Poff on South Weber council

Wednesday , July 30, 2014 - 4:03 PM

SOUTH WEBER — The 800-pound gorilla in the South Weber City Council chambers is either silent, shy or on a short chain, as felony charges against one of the city council members have done little to distract the other members of the council, according to two city elected leaders.

South Weber City Councilman Michael Poff, who is facing state charges of communications fraud, works professionally, without so much as even a hiccup during the council meetings, serving as a main contributor at the bi-monthly public meetings.

But the degree of professionalism Poff has displayed despite the charges filed against him in 2nd District Court comes as no surprise to fellow Councilman Scott Casas, who claims the charges leveled at his political friend have done nothing to distract Poff or the council from its business at hand, which is to run the city.

In March, Poff, 40, was charged with communications fraud for reportedly dishonest behavior in his work as an administrator at Bountiful’s Welcome Home Assisted Living. Poff faces three communications fraud charges, all second-degree felonies, for actions that happened between 2008-10 at the assisted living center. Authorities say more than $200,000 was stolen.

Poff could not be reached for comment Wednesday. But Poff’s attorney, Angela Elmore, said in an earlier Standard-Examiner story that her client intends to cooperate with the investigation and to disprove the allegations.

“(Poff) is my favorite city councilman,” said Casas, who said he enjoys how articulate Poff can be in discussing, and at times, bantering back and forth with other members of the council in resolving city issues.

“No, it has not been a distraction,” Casas said of the charges Poff is facing. “He has plowed forward like nothing has happened.”

That isn’t to say that the charges against Poff, Casas said, haven’t been on his own mind.

At one point he felt as if Poff, who has been on the council since 2004, should step down from his position based on the charges levied against him, Casas said. “But we all deserve a fair trial,” he said.

And now?

“I’m very happy that he is on the city council,” Casas said of what Poff is able to contribute to the group. “Residents might feel differently, but they haven’t had a chance to work with him.“

But Casas admitted he wouldn’t want to be in Poff’s shoes, nor is he certain he would have been able to handle the situation as well as Poff has been able to.

Councilman Dave Thomas said personally the charges against Poff have not served as a distraction to him. ”Individuals are innocent until proven otherwise,“ said Thomas, who is a full-time attorney for Summit County.

”It doesn’t specifically involve the city,“ Thomas said of the charges.

But it remains unclear how other members of the city council feel.

Attempts to reach Mayor Tammy Long, Councilwoman Marlene Poore and Councilman Randy Hilton were unsuccessful.

Contact reporter Bryon Saxton at 801-625-4244 or bsaxton@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @BryonSaxton.

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