Weber County officials hold off on UTA appointment over procedural issue

Wednesday , January 24, 2018 - 5:00 AM

TIM VANDENACK, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — Formal selection of a new Northern Utah representative on the Utah Transit Authority Board of Trustees has been put on hold because of a procedural issue.

Brent Taylor, the North Ogden mayor who had held the post, stepped down so he could deploy to Afghanistan with the Army National Guard. Members of the Weber Area Council of Governments picked Toby Mileski, the former Pleasant View mayor, to replace him, but Weber County commissioners, who have final say, held off on ratifying the choice on Tuesday because they hadn’t received proper notification of the selection.

> Brent Chugg selected as temporary mayor of North Ogden

“All this really is, it’s procedure,” Christopher Crockett, the deputy Weber County attorney, said.

Weber County Commissioner Kerry Gibson said Northern Utah is already underrepresented on the UTA Board of Trustees. Some local leaders have pushed for more funding from UTA officials for a multimillion-dollar bus rapid transit project in Ogden, and Gibson said he hopes for quick action to resolve the matter “so we have representation on that board.”

> Resolution on how to fund Ogden BRT project proving difficult

Before they can act, county officials need a “joint written agreement” identifying Mileski as the preferred choice with signatures from a majority of the chief executives in the 18 locales within the Northern Utah UTA district. The district covers the 15 cities of Weber County as well as Brigham City, Perry and Willard in Box Elder County.

The WACOG officials, representing locales in the Northern Utah UTA district, voted 11-6 on Jan. 8 for Mileski, but the documentation county officials received only has signatures of two of the officials, Crockett said. Mileski beat out Weber County Commissioner James Ebert.

Taylor’s selection by WACOG last year to the UTA spot met resistance from UTA officials because his father worked as a FrontRunner train operator, violating, they said, the entity’s anti-nepotism policy. WACOG reps challenged the determination and Taylor was ultimately allowed to take the UTA post.

> N.O. Mayor Brent Taylor sworn in as UTA board member, despite nepotism policy

Taylor has been a firebrand on the UTA board, pushing to counter what he sees as lacking transparency in UTA operations. Similarly, Mileski said he’d bring a “watchdog perspective” to the post.

The North Ogden City Council selected Brent Chugg to serve as the city’s mayor while Taylor is serving his deployment.

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at tvandenack@standard.net, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/TimVandenackReporter.

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