CENTERVILLE -- No sour grapes, just political unfairness needing to be addressed for the next "upstart" to make a run for office, according to Centerville City Councilwoman-elect Stephanie Ivie.
"Centerville city government/management has shown a definite favoritism in this (year's) election cycle," said Ivie, who captured one of two available seats on the city council, but remains uncertain as to how she will be treated.
City officials, however, maintain Ivie's conspiracy claims and her attacks on staff are unfounded.
"Clearly there has been no intent on staff to influence the outcome of this (year's) election," Centerville City Manager Steve Thacker said. He said that claim also includes himself.
Ivie's complaints to the city, as well as other election complaints, have been referred to the Utah Lieutenant Governor's Office for review.
It is the hope of city officials that the state will provide a response to the complaints prior to Jan. 1, 2014.
But that may be a deadline the state can't meet based on the material needing to be reviewed, according to a state election official.
"We just received (the complaints) late in the day on Wednesday," State Election Director Mark Thomas told the Standard-Examiner on Friday. "It is going to take time to go through them."
But there is nothing magical about a swearing-in date, and if a violation occurred, even if a candidate has taken an oath of office, action will be taken, he said.
Thomas said the necessary time needed to go through the complaints will be taken to determine whether legitimate issues have been raised.
In the meantime, Ivie, who captured office Nov. 5 and officially takes the oath of office Jan. 7, is already throwing political haymakers at her colleagues.
"As I see it now, there are two sets of rules in Centerville. There are the ones on the books, and there are the 'members only' ones," Ivie said in a email to the Standard-Examiner.
Some of the injustices during the city's 2013 municipal contest, Ivie claims, include the city suspending the sign ordinance limiting the size of campaign signs to 12-feet, after a candidate ordered campaign signs larger than the ordinance permitted.
That mistake occurred when the information packets initially issued to candidates by the city contained outdated information regarding sign size. The information limited signs to 16-feet, rather than 12-feet, the limit that now stands, according to Thacker.
The concern was that staff did not know which candidates may have already ordered the larger 16-foot signs, resulting in the city reverting back to its previous sign ordinance in offering a "reasonable accommodation" for everyone, Thacker said.
"To this day I still do not know which candidates had ordered the (16-foot) signs," he said rebuking the claims of favoritism made by Ivie.
Thacker said the city did issue an apology for the wrong information being distributed.
Other issues raised by Ivie were the inconsistency in enforcing sign placement and the city incorrectly listing on its website the incorrect phone number of one of the candidates.
Thacker said the incorrect listing of a phone number, off by a single digit, was a staff mistake that was corrected.
Regarding enforcing sign placement, Thacker said, staff did notice sign placement violations by more than one candidate and did what they could to enforce it by educating business owners as what to allow on their properties, and by conducting enforcement sweeps.
"When it was all said and done, the violations remained unresolved. It became a no-win situation for city staff to deal with it further," Thacker said.
This was the first year the city attempted to enforce sign placement, he said.
Ivie also objected to Mayor Ron Russell and four of the five current city council members sending out a letter to voters detailing their support for a select group of candidates.
The letter Ivie is referring to, Thacker said, was a personal letter, and not printed on city letterhead.
And then there was the letter the city sent out to candidates stating all campaign disclosures were to be submitted on either Oct. 28 or Oct. 29, and failure to comply would result in their name being removed from the ballot, Ivie said.
One candidate, who ended up winning office, submitted their disclosure Oct. 24. It was then posted online, and challenged by another candidate, before an amended disclosure was filed and received by the city on Oct. 30.
"This put her outside the filing window on both extremes, but she was not removed from the ballot," Ivie said.
But that issue was addressed by the Lieutenant Governor's Office, and thrown out by a 2nd District Court judge, after it was determined the candidate's initial disclosure was filed on time, and that the city by specifying two days in which the disclosures could be turned in went beyond what state code requires, which isn't permissible, Thacker said.
"Ivie is a good person. I am disappointed that she has gone this far with this letter," Thacker said.
"I have been deeply concerned about the failure of the city to enforce its financial disclosure laws. This is a governance problem," Centerville Councilman Larry Wright said.
Wright, who made an unsuccessful bid for mayor in 2013, has two years remaining on his 4-year term on the council.
Contact reporter Bryon Saxton at 801-625-4244 or email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter at @BryonSaxton.