Sunset and Syracuse City leaders have rendered moot recent board appointments that appeared to have been made in violation of Utah code.
On Tuesday, following the advise of legal counsel, the Sunset City Council rescinded the action it took Jan. 10 when it removed Mayor Chad Bangerter from the Wasatch Integrated Waste Management District Board, and replaced him with Councilman Kevin Snow.
By a 3-2 vote the council had approved the appointment of Snow, despite being advised by legal counsel that the action may be in violation of state code. That code states that the mayor as its city administrator and chief executive officer is to make recommendations for appointments, officials said.
Also on Jan. 10, the Syracuse City Council, by a 3-to-1 vote, removed Councilman Douglas Peterson from the North Davis Sewer District, replacing him with Councilman Larry Shingleton.
Rather than rescind that vote, Syracuse City Attorney Will Carlson determined that, based on Utah law, removing Peterson from the NDSD board was an invalid action, because the council's vote "holds no force or effect."
"In spite of the vote, the amended motion (made by Councilwoman Karianne Lisonbee) holds no force or effect in the context of the NDSD appointment because it was not made by the mayor," Carlson said.
Peterson will continue to represent the city on the board until the completion of his term, which does not expire until 2014, according to Carlson.
Peterson replaced Councilman Matt Kimmel on the NDSD board after Kimmel was removed from that board by the city council following an ethics investigation over a real estate deal. That investigation by the Davis County Attorney's office has not yet reached a conclusion.
"It is just moot," Syracuse Mayor Jamie Nagle said of the Jan. 10 council action to appoint Shingleton.
Nagle said she had not signed the resolution to remove Peterson from the sewer board before the issue was brought to her attention.
Carlson and attorney Felshaw King, legal counsel for the sewer district, later concurred upon review that Peterson is to remain the NDSD board appointee until 2014, Nagle said.
According to King, only four things can remove someone before the end of their four-year term: death, loss of office, resignation or being removed for cause, Nagle said.
Rectifying the situation was also made a little easier because Shingleton had not yet been officially sworn-in as the city's representative on that board. He did not attend the board's Jan. 12 meeting, where that swearing-in ceremony may have taken place, Nagle said.
Bangerter said the council voted to rescind Snow's appointment on Tuesday. They then reappointed Bangerter to the WIWMD board.
"The city council realized they were above their authority," Bangerter said of the decision.
"The newspaper article helped," Bangerter said of a Standard-Examiner article published on Jan. 17. The article referred to the appointments in both Syracuse and Sunset as possibly being in violations of state code according to authorities.
Bangerter said he is happy to have the issue behind him.
Bangerter receives $2,000 a year for serving on the WIWMD board, which oversees the management of the waste incinerator and landfill in Layton.
Peterson's appointment to the NDSD board pays up to $5,000 a year based on monthly meeting attendance.