I recently began taking a deeper look at the current state of management for Grantsville City. The deeper I dug, the more disappointed, bordering on disgust, I had in the current mismanagement of the city, at the expense of the citizens and taxpayers.
What began this journey was when I put in a GRAMA request asking for details of the use of taxpayer funded city vehicles by city employees, which was driven by a small interaction in the city council minutes whereas the mayor asked about the current city policy on employee use of city vehicles, which was immediately couched by one of the council members, never to be followed up on — at least not in the public record.
What this request revealed was that no Grantsville Municipal ordinance or resolution authorized this use by the city manager. [I do believe the hiring of a city manager is a change in our city government foisted on the citizens without a vote, which I believe is in violation of Utah state code — but more on that another time.]
Furthermore, it was in clear violation of the City Employee Handbook, which specifically lists the city employees authorized the use of city vehicles. And guess what, the city manager is not one of those authorized to use a city vehicle at taxpayer expense, yet he has been doing just that for the past year and three months.
So I attended the next city council meeting to inform the city council, the mayor, and the city attorney of this clear violation. I believed that the representatives of the citizens would correct this violation, as is required in both state code, city ordinance and policy. To my dismay, days later the city manager was still driving around and commuting to and from work in a city vehicle. What made it more troubling was that the city manager himself was previously in the position of treasurer and human resources director for the city of Grantsville. He would have been the individual that was responsible for reviewing and approving the employee handbook and policies that he was now in clear violation of.
I immediately requested a meeting with the mayor and city manager to discuss why this violation was continuing. During this meeting, the city manager acknowledged that he knew he was in violation of the policy, and had no intent to adhere to said policy. Even more troubling was his statement in response that “he had not yet had the time to get an amendment nor resolution before the council to change this.”
So by his own statement it was a foregone conclusion that the council would do his bidding, granting him the use of a taxpayer funded resource for his own financial benefit. Which was followed by the statement, “I was promised a company car in my employment contract.”
So when were city bureaucrats given the authority to grant themselves additional financial benefit at the taxpayers expense? And when did our elected city representative quit putting the interest of citizens and taxpayers ahead of the interest of the city’s bureaucrats self-enrichment?
City managers are expected to uphold and enforce city policies as part of their professional duties and obligations. Violating city policies undermines the credibility of the government and creates a lack of trust between the city and its citizens. Additionally it can also create legal and financial liabilities for the city, which could lead to negative consequences for the community. Hence, violating city policies is considered unethical because it goes against the principles of good governance and public trust.
Needless to say, my trust in the Grantsville city government has been destroyed. This is a clear example of waste of taxpayer resources, and abuse of the citizens in ignoring these clear violations. While I am not yet making an accusation of fraud, the digging has just begun, so stay tuned.