Sunset mayor throws in towel over council conflicts, won't seek re-election

Apr 1 2013 - 11:59pm

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Sunset Mayor Chad Bangerter
Sunset Mayor Chad Bangerter

SUNSET -- The political sniping between Mayor Chad Bangerter and some city council members has resulted in the mayor deciding not to seek another four-year term, citing an "unbearable" working relationship.

The latest political flare-up came when the council requested that Bangerter disclose publicly his conflict of interest in having his business, CBR, serve as sponsor for the Sunset Fun Days celebration car show to be held this summer.

Bangerter owns CBR, a vehicle and motorcycle restoration business.

"We can't even agree to disagree," Bangerter said in a March 23 email he sent to each member of the council.

"Some of you just want to argue, and you all wonder why sponsors of our events have dried up."

Bangerter said CBR has sponsored the car show event associated with Sunset Fun Days off and on for several years, and this year, he was prepared to make a $500 contribution toward the activity.

The current political climate, Bangerter said, has made things unbearable for him, and as a result, he will not seek a second term.

"I have really learned a life lesson here," he said.

Both the announcement by Bangerter and his email caught some council members by surprise.

Councilman Kevin Snow said he didn't have a problem with CBR sponsoring the car show. He said he was just concerned that Bangerter hadn't disclosed in a public meeting what Snow termed his "conflict of interest" in having his business serve as the event sponsor. As a result, he sent the mayor an email reminding him of the law.

"In the past, I don't think anyone has challenged (the mayor) on it," Snow said.

When an issue is brought up by a city leader, that person should publicly state when there is a potential for a conflict of interest.

"That is all that was being asked," Snow said.

Councilman Ryan Furniss said that before receiving the email, he fully expected Bangerter to seek re-election.

This isn't the first time the council and Bangerter have wrangled.

The mayor found himself on the losing end of a debate when the city council voted to buy 10 iPads for the city's elected leaders and department heads at a cost of $3,790.

Bangerter opposed the unbudgeted expense, questioning whether the iPads were warranted. Council members said they needed to better communicate with city staff and to go paperless for council meetings.

The iPad the city purchased for Bangerter sits on his desk, unopened.

The political infighting between the mayor and council is a result of council members being "free-thinkers," Furniss said.

"I think the mayor thought he would come in with his agenda, and the council would get on board," he said. "I think that is where the heartache has come."

Furniss said the good, healthy debate the council has over issues is a sign of good government and that Bangerter needs to quit taking those issues and their outcomes so personally.

"There is give-and-take in politics," Furniss said.

Snow said that with Bangerter's decision to not seek re-election, it is likely that someone from the council will make a run for the job.

Bangerter said all he wanted to do was to step forward and help the Fun Days event. But when he tried, rather than be thanked, some council members suspected he had something up his sleeve.

"I'm tired of the fight. We could have done so many great things."

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