BRIGHAM CITY — The Brigham City Council, looking for ways to encourage Mayor Dennis Fife to resign from office, has adopted an ordinance stripping away the mayor’s authority when it comes to the hiring, firing and discipline of city employees.
The council unanimously took the action Thursday night in response to Fife’s admitted extramarital affair. The ordinance states Fife has a self-imposed conflict of interest regarding personnel matters.
Fife, 67, who has been embattled with some council members over their request that he resign, told the Standard-Examiner in a phone interview Friday that he, too, voted in favor of the ordinance in an effort to get along with the city’s other elected leaders.
The ordinance, by statute, needed a unanimous vote by the council, Fife said, and he feared one of the council members who has been a strong supporter of his would not adopt the ordinance if Fife didn’t openly agree to support it.
“I would have rather not seen this,” Fife said, “but if the mayor pro tem (Councilman Tyler Vincent) wants to (oversee personnel action for city staff), that’s fine.”
Some city officials are concerned about the image Fife’s personal life may project on the city and have requested that he step down.
The remorseful mayor says he is well aware there will always be those who will say the ordinance approved Thursday doesn’t go far enough.
But Fife, elected in November 2009, has every intention of completing his four-year term.
“Even if I resign,” he said, “it is still going to be out there.”
But there are times when he questions his decision to remain in office.
“I hit my head against the wall every day — why do I want to stay,” Fife said.
But the mayor said he has his supporters and is hoping all of the talk about his personal life will soon die down.
“It’s not everybody (who wants me gone),” he said.
Fife admitted to having an extramarital affair with a woman he formerly counseled as a bishop with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Fife went public Dec. 3 about the affair, asking for forgiveness from residents as part of his repentance process of the past seven months.
Fife said he believed going public about the affair would keep him ahead of the rumors that were being spread about him.
The council had planned to vote Thursday on a resolution recommending the mayor resign. Such an approved move would have been nonbinding.