Grantsville council member critical

(01/11/2007)

Dear Editor,

As a member of the Grantsville Town Council, I feel that I must say that I am not pleased with the methods and means by which some decisions and policies have been handled. I feel as I have, at times, been all but excluded from the duties for which I was appointed. Incidentally, I have been informed by the mayor that, since I was only appointed, my views and words don't count for much. The mayor, from my point of view, has more than once demonstrated less intent to include and more intent to exclude council as part of the decision making process.

At the January 2nd meeting, council voted to terminate the employment of one of our long-time town employees. This has brought about a great deal of anxiety on the part of the remaining employees. Many of our town residents are upset as well. To the best of my knowledge, the reason for the dismissal was never made clear to council, members of the community, or to the employee.

The employee was given notice of termination some time before council had an opportunity to meet or discuss the matter. Myself and another council member abstained from voting because we felt not enough information, numbers, facts or projected impact had been given to justify the dismissal. No alternatives to this harsh course of action were discussed. Questions needed to be asked and answered, but the mayor ran interference on attempts to do so. "Budget cut backs," is hardly adequate reason for council to make such an important decision.

I asked for an executive session on the matter. The mayor rather hastily said we could not have one because an executive session was not on the agenda. I know of no law that requires executive session be on the agenda. It goes without saying under the circumstances of employee termination, that executive session would have been permissible and appropriate.

The easy way, conceived and directed by the mayor, was taken. I hope this kind of behavior is not present in all matters requiring knowledgeable action by council.

The mayor has demonstrated little or no intent on making city government a complete, informed, and effective system as it should be. Not only is council receiving less and less information, but have been denied when asking for such regarding finances and other issues upon which we must make decisions.

I believe in many ways the mayor intends to undermine the mayor/council system our ordinances call for and administer the town by himself with the outside constant and unfailing assistance of others.

I believe that proper procedure, due process, and inclusion of all council members, and therefore all citizens of the town have been ignored. There is too much unseen, unknown and un-relinquished information for all members of the town government to function accurately and properly. I hope the mayor will take a different approach to governmental process in the future, not only for me and other council members, but for the town and community as a whole.

Sincerely,

Loretta Stevens, Councilwoman
Grantsville Town Council