Syracuse's sewer board appointment still in limbo

Feb 4 2012 - 10:40pm

SYRACUSE -- The legal issue of appointing a local representative to the North Davis Sewer Board will take more time to resolve.

City council members voted to table a motion to finalize the appointment this week after an extensive work session discussion and some disagreement about what the correct legal steps are to appoint a representative.

Earlier this year, council members voted to replace Councilman Doug Peterson on the NDSB with Councilman Larry Shingleton, only to have that decision brought into question days later. Mayor Jamie Nagle never formally signed documentation on the appointment after being advised the move was illegal, so Peterson was never officially removed from the board.

Councilwoman Karianne Lisonbee questioned the move, however, based on research she said she has done of state code regarding mid-term appointments. Lisonbee said she consulted with the attorney who helped draft the code for the state.

Lisonbee claims the legal interpretation that the city cannot replace a representative on the board, without meeting specific criteria, only applies to one specific district in the state. She implied the law requires at least a two-week notification period for appointment to the sewer board and the waste board, both of which pay a stipend to participating members.

She said the law also allows council members to apply for appointment to the post. She said it also gives the legislative body the right to approve that appointment.

Lisonbee was asked to share her information with City Attorney Will Carlson so the matter can be dealt with at an upcoming meeting.

Carlson said there is a lot of ambiguity in the law. He offered his original opinion that Peterson could not be removed from his post based on language of the guidelines from the district. He maintained that the council's new appointment was invalid because the vote held no force or effect. City guidelines stipulate that appointments are made by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council.

Nagle weighed in briefly on the matter during the work session.

"I have three attorneys who have given an opinion on this," Nagle said.

She said the possible misstep in replacing Peterson was brought to her attention by the county.

The appointment issue has been a sensitive one for months now. Peterson had replaced Councilman Matthew Kimmel on the sewer board after Kimmel was removed from the body over an ethics question involving the purchase of property by the group. Kimmel is being charged with a class A misdemeanor of using his position to secure privilege, according to court documents filed Tuesday by the Davis County Attorney's Office in 2nd District Court. A hearing is scheduled March 12.

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