City’s Policy of intolerance, nepotism, & election manipulation – like it or “Move out of Cedar Hills!”

Written By: admin - Oct• 19•17

The following letter was submitted to new City Manager Chandler Goodwin, challenging his handling of an OFFICIAL COMPLAINT against city employee Gretchen Gordon un-professional treatment of a resident, conflict of interest, nepotism and impact in the 2011 election outcome — as follows:

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October 18, 2017

 

Chandler,

Your response to my OFFICIAL COMPLAINT below was disappointing.  

You conspicuously ignored the key questions regarding employee professionalism, ethics and the request to consider remedies past & present concerns outlined in the Official Complaint against your Exec. Assist Gretchen Gordon.  In review, the questions covered:

1.  Do you believe it professional for appropriate for Cedar Hills City employees under your management to tell residents to “just move out of Cedar Hills”, when that employee’s personal politics disagrees with a resident?  

2.  Don’t you agree that improvements should be considered that could increase protection of taxpayers — as well as city employees — from the consequences of unethical election involvement, conflicts of interests, and nepotism — regardless of current code or policy?

3.  Do you and/or Gretchen Gordon knew anything about, or did she have anything to do with the email below, that directed hundreds of voters with specific names of candidates to vote for, in 2011?

Voting instructions by Cedar HOA from Gretchen Gordon - 2011 11 07

Instead of answering the above questions, you re-defined them, then hid behind quoting city policy, code verbiage and “free speech” claims.  (This is certainly ironic when city employees unduly work against all residents / all candidates, including former Councilman Rob Crawley's "free speech” rights to communicate to the residents as an elected official.)  Then, you officially exonerated & condoned Gretchen’s indefensible actions saying she “acted appropriately". Sad. Highly questionable.  It appears that only ONE voice is allowed or protected in Cedar Hills — all others can move outta town!

So, I guess Cedar Hills residents are left to conclude by your response as the City Manager that:  

It is current Cedar Hills City policy, appropriate, and indeed acceptable for the Mayor, City Council and City employees to tell Cedar Hills taxpayers to “just move out of Cedar Hills”. and otherwise harass and intimidate residents, when their opinions differ, when they question employee conflicts of interest, or when CH citizens investigate and/or request public records, that may expose illegal or unethical behaviors, including manipulation of elections, — by those in power.

Absurd?  Not really. Not in light of the Official Complaint filed and the City’s evasive response through you.  

Chandler, we had hoped that your stated desire for better government in Cedar Hills would be backed up by corrective action and improvements — not an apparent “circle the wagons” protection of indefensible / unethical employee actions. 

Lastly, maybe you’ll tell us what Gretchen’s response is when you ask, “Have you ever falsified document(s) while working as a Cedar Hills employee?”  There appears to be twisted sense of entitlement amongst some employees.  Chandler, do you think CH residents owe anyone (including their friends and family) a lifetime job with generous and growing pay, pension and special perks, — when taxpayer dollars could go much further — while costing residents a whole lot less with different employees?  Patterns of unethical behavior and possible conflicts of interest amongst CH staff must be identified and acknowledged.  Only then can they be fixed! 

Am I missing something, or are my facts, opinions and observations above inaccurate in any way?  If not, I am saddened that our beautiful and wonderful little city and residents continues to be treated as a private $$ piggybank and private golf course, etc., — for a select few.  We want you to succeed, and to be able to trust you.  Chandler, to succeed, you must answer the question, “Who am I really working for?"

In the meanwhile, I guess we’ll just have to let Cedar Hills voters judge this information for themselves, and decide what kind of City employees they want their tax dollars to support.  

Disappointed,

 

Ken Cromar – researcher for 

Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government

former elected Cedar Hills Councilman –  1994 to 2000

 

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October 16, 2017

RESPONSE TO OFFICIAL COMPLAINT (Received October 12, 2017)

 

Ken,

I have reviewed the content of your “OFFICIAL COMPLAINT” and determined that there are two issues that need to be addressed:

·       Allegations of, “past and current conflict-of-interest employee action and related city policies.”

·       Consideration of, “strengthening of the city’s anti-nepotism policy.”

In your email chain with Gretchen Gordon, you reference an email dated November 7, 2011, which was sent by The Cedars HOA Board to residents of The Cedars HOA. Additionally you state, “If you promoted candidates as an HOA Board Member while being a City official, it absolutely relates to your work… You and your husband Greg Gordon have a conflict of interest because of his employment with the city relating to the failing golf course/golf club house, and you and he profit financially by that employment paid for by Cedar Hills residents”.

Current Cedar Hills Policies and Procedures related to political activity states:

13. POLICITAL ACTIVITY (Section 7, Employee Code of Conduct)

A.      An employee shall not be coerced to support a political activity.

B.      An employee shall not engage in political activity during work hours, unless on approved leave.

C.      An employee shall not use the City of Cedar Hills’ owned equipment, supplies or resources, and other attendant expenses when engaged in political activity.

D.      An employee shall not discriminate in favor of or against any person or applicant for employment based on political activities.

E.       An employee shall not use the employee’s title or position while engaging in political activity.

Based on these policies, it has been determined that Gretchen was not acting contrary to the established Policies, as the email in question does not bear her name or city title. Additionally, multiple Cedar Hills residents are employed with the City. It is in no way a violation of City Policy for these employees to be politically active and engaged in elections as long as the Policies and Procedures are adhered to; by being a city employee, one does not forfeit their right to free speech. As Utah State Code 10-3-1108 has similar language as the City’s policies:

(2) Except as otherwise provided by federal law:

   (a)  the partisan political activity, political opinion, or political affiliation of an applicant for a position with a municipality may not provide a basis for denying employment to the applicant;

   (b)  an officer or employee's partisan political activity, political opinion, or political affiliation may not provide the basis for the officer or employee's employment, promotion, disciplinary action, demotion, or dismissal;

   (c)   a municipal officer or employee may not engage in political campaigning or solicit political contributions during hours of employment;

   (d)  a municipal officer or employee may not use municipal equipment while engaged in political activity;

The second complaint is to consider strengthening the City’s anti-nepotism policy. The Cedar Hills Policies and Procedures states that the City will comply with Utah State Code 52-3-1.The positions that Gretchen and Greg Gordon currently hold comply with this provision which states,  “No appointee may accept or retain employment if he is paid from public funds, and he is under the direct supervision of a relative…”.  As Greg is the Recreation Director and Gretchen is in the Administration Department, I have determined that they are in compliance with this code and the Policies of Cedar Hills. It is not a conflict of interest for Gretchen to be politically active in her HOA and as an HOA Board endorse candidates that will protect the golf course, despite her husband’s employment there.

Furthermore, as a city, we strive to give residents and members of the community the best customer service experience we can, even though we may be having difficult conversations with them. We strive for professionalism and mutual respect to be a part of every interaction and will continue to emphasize this type of contact with each resident we serve.  Based on the evidence provided and conversations with Gretchen as well as Mayor Gary Gygi and David Shaw, the City Attorney, I have concluded that Gretchen acted appropriately and did not violate any provision of the Cedar Hills Policies and Procedures, City of Cedar Hills City Code, and Utah State Code, and consider the matter resolved.

Regards,

 

Chandler Goodwin

City Manager

City of Cedar Hills

 

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OFFICIAL COMPLAINT

 

October 12, 2017

Chandler,

Your Executive Assistant / Human Resources city employee Gretchen Gordon asked me to contact you regarding our email exchange and discussion in the city office front lobby while I was filing a public records GRAMA request.

For your convenience, I have included below the complete email chain and file this complaint against her sometimes inappropriate and unprofessional behavior.  This material may also inspire your investigation into past and current conflict-of-interest employee action and related city policies, as well as considering a strengthening of the city’s anti-nepotism policy.  

The email chain below is self-explanatory.  With regards to Gretchen’s most recent email:  

For the record, she mischaracterized our discussion.  Fortunately I have a reliable witness.  

While I was filing my GRAMA request, yes, she invited and encouraged my attendance at the 40 year celebration.  I told her I was disinclined to come because I don’t always feel safe at times at CH public events due to bullying, intimidation and threats of violence (including Jenney Rees’s husband Matt & former Councilman Ken Kirk, as you well know, etc.) by the pro-golf crowd.  Fortunately, she agreed that this kind of intimidation at public meetings was inappropriate and unacceptable, and I thanked her.  I also complimented you Chandler referencing your bringing police in that one night golf finance meeting to protect me, your “unquestioning” respect for me and acknowledgement that, “Ken, you only seek the truth in behalf of CH residents.”  Thanks again.  I really appreciate your honor and professionalism.

The discussion with Gretchen led to other items, on which she offered many lengthy opinions, some which were inappropriate and unkind, including “Ken, why don’t you just move out of Cedar Hills?”  

Chandler, this kind of behavior is an unprofessional and a disrespectful way for a city employee to treat anyone, — let alone someone whose taxes pay her wages, wouldn’t you agree?

Gretchen, the golf course and free golf and other questionable items have at times put city employees at times in a conflict of interest.  The problem is those in the conflicts of interest are often blind to it, and resent reasonable investigation and observations.  

Finally, you will find the referenced Nov. 7, 2011 The Cedars HOA email Gretchen referenced that told that precinct how to vote, which says nothing about being from a "management board", but rather that it was sent from the “Board@TheCedarsHOA.org.” Gretchen did not deny the email was real and was sent to the entire HOA.  it is most important to note that while her email adamantly postures, “I did not send that email,”  her response does NOT directly answer the question, "Gretchen, can you truthfully deny having anything to do with the email below…?”  

Chandler, I’m confident you agree that when you, Jerry Dearinger and I met on August 11th to discuss our writing the AGAINST the PARC tax increase argument  we had a productive and respectful meeting.  As I recall you said you want CH government under your leadership to be fair and open and honest.  I believe you.  As our new City Manager may I strongly encourage you to seriously consider this Official Complaint and re-evaluation of city policy that might help remedy and protect citizens rights and from abusive government, and protect city employee from compromise and temptation to break the public trust?  We think it is a reasonable expectation that all city employees will speak honestly and treat all residents with respect.  Thank you.

In the meanwhile, I guess we’ll have to leave if up to the intelligent CH resident, taxpayer and voter to decide the truth on these matters.

 

Respectfully,

Ken Cromar signature blue 1 sm

Ken Cromar – taxpayer / resident / researcher for 

Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government

former elected Cedar Hills Councilman

 

Please note CC to current candidates for Council / and CHCRG members

Voting instructions by Cedar HOA from Gretchen Gordon - 2011 11 07

 

 

 

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Candidate poll results on Prop #7 PARC Tax Increase

Written By: admin - Oct• 19•17

Cedar Hills for Responsible Government conducted a poll of the 2017 CH candidates regarding their positions — either FOR or AGAINST — the City’s proposed new PARC Tax Increase.

 

Candidates for Mayor

Curt Crosby — AGAINST the Tax Increase

Jenney Rees — FOR the Tax Increase

 

Candidates for City Council

Maurice Navarro — AGAINST the Tax Increase

Ben Ellsworth — FOR the Tax Increase

Denise Anderson — FOR the Tax Increase

 

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“Cedar Hills is very ill.” FaceBook post by former Councilman Crawley

Written By: admin - Oct• 17•17

"There is an infection that has been festering for many years."

 

(Note:  The following was posted on Cedar Hills Politics Facebook page — a more respectful place where even women and children can feel safe about sharing their opinions without ridicule or harassment — originated by now former CH Councilman Rob Crawley, whose family recently moved to Highland.)

 

Cedar Hills is very ill. There is an infection that has been festering for many years. The original source of the problem is in the city government not following the proper role of government. The city entering the golf course management business caused two factions to be at odds with each other since it was created. This battled has waged since long before I got involved in politics. When the city purchased the golf course, it created a situation in which a set of residents who feel that their well-being depends on the continuance of the golf course (Golf Group). They feel that their home values will plummet if there is not a golf course next to their homes. I disagree with this. However, it is not possible to say who is right on this issue. Whether it is or isn’t true, the problem is that this issue has created a group that is at odds with much of the rest of the city. There is a large group in the city that does not like that their tax rates increased significantly due to the golf course. They also do not like that they can’t use the course like they could a public park.

The Golf Group that feels that the $500,000+ investment per year in the golf course props up their home values, is a group that has a vested personal interest in the continuity of the golf course regardless of its losses or cost to the city. This is a conflict of interests because there is personal gain that is associated with decisions for the city. When a city council member has a conflict of interest, they abstain from votes regarding the issue. However, rather than abstaining from votes for this issue, those with a conflict of interest in our city have inserted themselves into the political workings of the city at every opportunity. Not only that, they have formed coalitions to ensure that only those that are either part of the Golf Group or that pose no threat to the Golf Group will be elected to political office within the city.

An example is the last city council election. Angela Johnson won handily in the primaries, but because she stated in a meet the candidates night that she thought that looking at the financials of the golf course was a good idea, she was blackballed and a concerted effort by the private Facebook group called “Keep Cedar Hills Green” led to her losing her lead in the final election. The Golf Course Finance Committee was manipulated to help the campaigns of those that were running against Angela. This group has also worked behind the scenes to gather support for having alcohol served at the clubhouse.

The Golf Course group has been working together through the two Cedars HOA’s for years, but the “Keep Cedar Hills Green” Facebook group has been one of the methods of organizing and communicating over the last 2 years. This group included nearly all city leadership including city council members and mayors excluding me (Rob Crawley). Under the Utah Open and Public Meetings Act, city leadership is restricted from holding private meetings. However, the law has not adjusted to Internet issues yet so there is not a specific rule against meeting through Facebook groups and holding private and secret conversations. However, the Keep Cedar Hills Green Facebook group has gone against the spirit of the law by allowing nearly all Cedar Hills leadership to work together to manipulate the political landscape of Cedar Hills blatantly in their tight knit group of 130 members of this group.

Since Council Member Denise Anderson has joined this group, this group now has all city council members and the mayor as well as many city employees, ex-city council members etc. that work together to ensure the Golf Course group goals are promoted by the city. Those with a conflict of interest not only participate in city business, but now completely dominate the process. They use the skills of Daniel Zappala to try to neutralize any threats to the goals of the Golf Group. For instance, as a comment to my last post, Daniel Zappala stated outright lies about the numbers that I have published. See my post at

http://cedarhillsrob.blogspot.com/

See Daniel’s Post about my numbers on the last post in this Facebook Group. Also, nearly all those that are trying to silence my last post are members of the Keep Cedar Hills Green group. I have seen their posts where they make comments about posting purposefully to make my posts appear lower in the line up on Facebook as well as encourage everyone to go against anything I say to minimalize the effects of my research. This is because truth about the golf course is viewed as a threat to the Golf Course group.

I am not interested in engaging with this group like I have in the past, rather I will be making available all the proof I have of their manipulation as well as the facts about the golf course and other issues that I have. I am very concerned that all I have learned about the history of the golf course, the secret groups that are used to prop up spending on the golf course and the true financial picture will be buried by this group as it has been in the past. So I am going to take action to make it all permanently available, after which I will bow out of this conflict, which has been an all-out battle prior to my involvement and will continue long after I bow out.

I don’t live in Cedar Hills anymore so my interest is not for my own well-being, but it is simply a desire to stop unethical manipulation of politics in a neighboring city. I entered politics because I hate the actions of politicians who manipulate the unsuspecting general public for their own gain or for the gain of a special interest group. This is exactly what the Golf Course group does.

Unfortunately Jenney Rees, a current candidate for mayor, is intimately involved with the Golf Course group. She involved herself in conversations regarding making sure Angela Johnson was not elected. She has inserted herself in the manipulative conversations about getting alcohol in our golf clubhouse and now she is an administrator on the secret Facebook page “Keep Cedar Hills Green”. This is clearly a violation of the spirit of the Open and Public Meetings Act. This kind of manipulation should be illegal, but certainly is unethical. All those who value transparency in Cedar Hills should demand that the Keep Cedar Hills Green group be accessible by all residents as city "business" has been conducted on this website for the last two years. If people go through and delete posts on that website now, it will be an admission of guilt. I would encourage those in Cedar Hills that are banned from the Keep Cedar Hills Green Facebook Page to demand access.

PS–I have set up a google drive account where I will put my files on that I will allow those who want access to my research and work. PM me your email address and I will share this drive with you.

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/579127932242100/

 

Rob Crawley Cedar Hills Blog

for Cedar Hills City Council

CEDARHILLSROB.BLOGSPOT.COM

 

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OFFICIAL COMPLAINT: filed against City Employee Gretchen Gordon

Written By: admin - Oct• 14•17

If you don’t like things in Cedar Hills,   

“…Why don’t you just move…!”  

 

No CH residents should ever be treated this way by anyone, but especially not by a City employee.

Also, in a related issue, residents may want to ask themselves if it's OK if ALL residents don’t feel safe coming to front desk, public meetings, are physically threatened and intimidated, and are told to “just move", and if we really have “open, honest and ethical” leadership in CH government?  Personal safety should never be a concern at a CH public meeting.  

Additionally, do CH residents think it appropriate and ethical for city employees to directly impact the outcome of an election by being directly involved in instructioning an entire HOA on who to vote for the day before an election?  (see below)

As the City's supreme authority in CH (not the mayor), Mr. Goodwin has been invited to investigate this October 14th OFFICIAL COMPLAINT including past and current actions and city policy related to “conflict of interest”, nepotism policy — and a general concern about respect for all residents – regardless of their opinions on issues.  His thoughtful and appropriate response is anticipated.

Here’s that OFFICIAL COMPLAINT… 

 

"OFFICIAL COMPLAINT

 

Chandler,

Your Executive Assistant / Human Resources city employee Gretchen Gordon asked me to contact you regarding our email exchange and discussion in the city office front lobby while I was filing a public records GRAMA request.

For your convenience, I have included below the complete email chain and file this complaint against her sometimes inappropriate and unprofessional behavior.  This material may also inspire your investigation into past and current conflict-of-interest employee action and related city policies, as well as considering a strengthening of the city’s anti-nepotism policy.  

The email chain below is self-explanatory.  With regards to Gretchen’s most recent email:  

For the record, she mischaracterized our discussion.  Fortunately I have a reliable witness.  

While I was filing my GRAMA request, yes, she invited and encouraged my attendance at the 40 year celebration.  I told her I was disinclined to come because I don’t always feel safe at times at CH public events due to bullying, intimidation and threats of violence (including Jenney Rees’s husband Matt & former Councilman Ken Kirk, as you well know, etc.) by the pro-golf crowd.  Fortunately, she agreed that this kind of intimidation at public meetings was inappropriate and unacceptable, and I thanked her.  I also complimented you Chandler referencing your bringing police in that one night golf finance meeting to protect me, your “unquestioning” respect for me and acknowledgement that, “Ken, you only seek the truth in behalf of CH residents.”  Thanks again.  I really appreciate your honor and professionalism.

The discussion with Gretchen led to other items, on which she offered many lengthy opinions, some which were inappropriate and unkind, including “Ken, why don’t you just move out of Cedar Hills?”  

Chandler, this kind of behavior is an unprofessional and a disrespectful way for a city employee to treat anyone, — let alone someone whose taxes pay her wages, wouldn’t you agree?

Gretchen, the golf course and free golf and other questionable items have at times put city employees at times in a conflict of interest.  The problem is those in the conflicts of interest are often blind to it, and resent reasonable investigation and observations.  

Finally, you will find the referenced Nov. 7, 2011 The Cedars HOA email Gretchen referenced that told that precinct how to vote, which says nothing about being from a "management board", but rather that it was sent from the “Board@TheCedarsHOA.org.” Gretchen did not deny the email was real and was sent to the entire HOA.  it is most important to note that while her email adamantly postures, “I did not send that email,”  her response does NOT directly answer the question, "Gretchen, can you truthfully deny having anything to do with the email below…?”  

Chandler, I’m confident you agree that when you, Jerry Dearinger and I met on August 11th to discuss our writing the AGAINST the PARC tax increase argument  we had a productive and respectful meeting.  As I recall you said you want CH government under your leadership to be fair and open and honest.  I believe you.  As our new City Manager may I strongly encourage you to seriously consider this Official Complaint and re-evaluation of city policy that might help remedy and protect citizens rights and from abusive government, and protect city employee from compromise and temptation to break the public trust?  We think it is a reasonable expectation that all city employees will speak honestly and treat all residents with respect.  Thank you.

In the meanwhile, I guess we’ll have to leave if up to the intelligent CH resident, taxpayer and voter to decide the truth on these matters.

Respectfully,

 

Ken Cromar – taxpayer / resident / researcher for 

Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government

former elected Cedar Hills Councilman …"

 

Please note CC to current candidates for Council / and CHCRG members

Voting instructions by Cedar HOA from Gretchen Gordon - 2011 11 07

[Note:  The email exchange will be published in a separate post.]

 

 

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Councilwoman Jenney Rees & Candidate for Mayor says – Vote FOR a new PARC Tax Increase

Written By: admin - Oct• 09•17

Current City Councilwoman Jenney Rees — who is also a candidate for Mayor — is surprisingly asking Cedar Hills residents to Vote on themselves and their neighbors a Tax Increase!  This from an Administration known for not allowing financial facts ($$ LOSSES) to the voters.  No wonder the City wants / "needs" more money.  

CHCRG was designated by the City — upon our request — to provide the AGAINST argument countering Jenney Rees' desire to raise taxes.  See separate post at …

 

Proposition #7 Argument…

Vote FOR the PARC Tax 

The City Council of the City of Cedar Hills, Utah has approved the provision of placing the opinion question of a Parks, Arts, Recreation, and Cultural (PARC) Tax on the November 7, 2017, ballot. 

If approved, the PARC Tax would add an additional 0.1% tax on all retail items sold in Cedar Hills, which means that for every $10 spent in a retail establishment within Cedar Hills, the city would assess a tax of one penny. By collecting this small sales tax, residents and non-residents who shop in Cedar Hills assist in generat-ing funds for parks, arts, and recreational opportunities within the city. While this tax is minimal, it has the ability to have a large positive impact on our community and quality life, making Cedar Hills an even more desirable place to live. 

Our city still has three potential parks listed in the General Plan, including the 11.5 acres of land recently pur-chased next to Deerfield Elementary. PARC tax funds can be used to help with the completion of these parks, as well as the trail system that connects them. This tax would go into effect on January 1, 2018, and be in place for 10 years. 

Up until last year, the city had collected this tax, then known as a CARE tax. The funds collected from this tax averaged about $40,000 per year of revenue for the city. These funds were used to: 

 Install a basketball court at Heritage Park 

 Help with the completion of the Community Center basement, which added two rooms used for activities such as karate classes, theater and singing classes, and art classes 

 Install a restroom at Mesquite Park 

 Coordinate community events hosted by the Arts Committee, such as the children’s art contest annual date night, and the Concert in the Park series. 

 Complete Bayhill Park 

These funds are not used to subsidize city recreation programs, such as soccer or basketball. Cedar Hills’ recre-ation programs are funded through fees charged to participants, and are not subsidized through PARC tax, or any other tax. 

Instituting this small retail tax, with a sunset provision, is a wise way to raise revenue needed for our parks, trails, recreational facilities, and community events, and to maintain the open space enjoyed by Cedar Hills res-idents. We hope you will support these efforts and vote YES on the PARC tax. 

 

Jenney Rees 

10258 Bayhill Drive 

Cedar Hills, UT 84062 

801-358-8730 

jenneyrees@gmail.com 

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REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF PROPOSITION #7 

by Jerry Dearinger and Friends at CHCRG

 

Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government are surprised that Councilwoman & Candidate for Mayor Jenney Rees (elected 2011) is willing to publicly expose that she and many City officials are in FAVOR of raising your taxes – when we already voted NO! 

Regrettably, City Officials have proven incapable of wise spending, keeping promises and quickly paying off City debt – and have tried to hide financial facts from Cedar Hills voters for years. 

Home-builders were forced by the City to collect $2.9 million in Impact Fees for ten years, promising to build a “Rec Center / Pool." When the City Council instead built a Golf Club House / Grill / Wedding Reception Center, – the Utah Home Builders Association sued the City. The City knew it was wrong, as proven by the lawsuit it “settled out of court.” This cost Cedar Hills taxpayers an additional $190,000, not to mention wast-ed staff time, legal fees – and still NO Rec Center or Pool. (See our November 19, 2012 posting, and other articles at www.CedarHillsCitizens.org.) 

Friends, there is no end to the “good” this City Council can do with YOUR money. It’s time to Just Say NO! 

It’s time they tighten their own belts, and stop asking for more money. Let’s not fall for more broken promis-es. Let’s replace tax & spend politicians, and get out of debt. VOTE AGAINST the NEW PARC TAX. 

 

To learn of CHCRG's authored argument AGAINST tax increase please see…

 http://www.cedarhillscitizens.org/chcrg-encourages…sed-new-parc-tax/

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CHCRG encourages Vote AGAINST the Proposed New PARC Tax – Again!

Written By: admin - Oct• 09•17

The City wants MORE of your $$ and is trying to raise taxes again with Proposition #7.  

Six members of Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government wrote, reworte and submitted the arguemnt AGAINST the City’s proposed new PARC Tax, and submitted it under CHCRG Legal advisor / retired attorney Jerry Dearinger’s name. (State Code requires that the 500 or less argument must be submitted under “a voter” name.)

Surprisingly, current Councilwoman Jenney Rees submitted the FOR the PARC Tax argument in favor of raising your taxes.  Submitted under its own separate CHCRG posting.  A similar City proposed CARE Tax was voted down by residents at the last elelction.

Please spread the word and share these links with intelligent and likely voters.

 

Vote AGAINST the proposed new PARC Tax.

It is not the proper role of City government to tax and spend money on programs that are not necessary for its residents. 

Most people enjoy the arts.  We do too, but this vote is not about “arts” or parks.  It’s about a City that has wasted funds – already entrusted to them – asking for more money.  Last year Cedar Hills residents voted AGAINST a similar “CARE” arts tax increase.   City officials didn’t take “no” for an answer.

Some questions CH voters should ask about the City’s proposed new “arts” (PARC) tax:

1.  What reasonable person would vote to raise their own taxes for non-essential services?

2.  What good neighbor would vote to force unnecessary new taxes on his neighbors (widows, retirees, people on a fixed income, or those financially challenged)?

3.  Why give more money to City officials who have not kept past promises on other taxes and fees?

For example:   The City collected $2.9 million in impact fees over 10 years to build a “Rec Center / Pool”.  Instead, the City built a golf clubhouse and wedding reception center.   The city touts small wedding profits, while glossing over the $581,000 per year average in golf course losses.

Despite false claims published in the City Newsletter that got some current and recent officials elected, saying the golf course was “cash flow positive” (profitable), it is not.  The City persuaded residents to vote for $6.437 million golf bond, promising voters it would make $400K per year in profits to “lower taxes”, be closed on Sunday and not allow alcohol. These promises were broken.  We are buried in debt! 

The truth? The golf course is a financial failure, and NEVER once has the golf course made $1 of profit – in any year.  This helps explain why the City “needs” a new tax.  In fact, the golf course has averaged $581,000 in losses (subsidization) every year, sacrificing possible new parks, the Rec Center / Pool, library, etc., we might all have enjoyed, – not just golfers.

Despite numerous requests, the City has NEVER provided a year-by-year loss table in the Newsletter, to correct the false claims that helped get them elected.  Our “public servants” Mayor and Council continue to allow themselves and staff unlimited FREE golf – while the residents must pay.  A conflict of interest?

Our high taxes are also hidden in the form of “free food” breakfasts, Easter Egg hunts, and many other fun but unneeded “services”.

The City proposed PARC tax is NOT for essential core public services.  For those people who want government “arts”, no problem, please feel free to write out a personal check and donate it to the City.  But please don’t vote to take money from your unwilling neighbor’s pocket by using your vote to impose an unnecessary new tax.

Please VOTE AGAINST the City’s proposed new PARC “arts” tax. 

 

Jerry Dearinger & friends at:

     Cedar Hills for Responsible Government  / www.CedarHillsCitizens.org

4211 W. Manila Creek Drive

Cedar Hills, UT 84062

801-796-1777

Jerry@CedarHillsCitizens.org

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REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT AGAINST PROPOSITION #7 

by Jenney Rees / Councilwoman & Candidate for Mayor

 

Local government exists to provide services and to develop and preserve a sense of community. In several sur-veys conducted over the years, Cedar Hills residents have consistently indicated that, for some, the top reasons for choosing to live in Cedar Hills include its family-friendly environment and the access to open space and trails. Our parks, trails, and community events are highly valued and provide the sense of community that makes Cedar Hills a place where people want to raise families and enjoy time together as friends and neigh-bors. It’s a place we can be proud to call our hometown. 

The PARC tax provides revenue for those things-parks, trails, and community events-most desired by our resi-dents, by adding one penny to every ten dollars spent in a retail establishment in Cedar Hills. Because it is a tax added to retail sales, residents from other cities that shop in Cedar Hills also contribute to the revenue gen-erated for these services. Our commercial district, adjacent to Walmart, is now on the verge of expanding. As these retail opportunities expand in our city, the PARC tax will provide funding for such things as the comple-tion of our trails system, completion of our newly-acquired 12-acre park near Deerfield Elementary, and the provision of community services. Please support these services by voting YES for the PARC tax. For infor-mation regarding statements made in the opposing argument that are unrelated to the PARC tax, please email me at jenneyrees@gmail.com. 

 

For Jenney Rees' arguement FOR you to raise your own taxex (and your neighbors) see …  http://www.cedarhillscitizens.org/councilwoman-can…w-parc-tax-again/

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City blocks Councilman Crawley’s desired final message – Which he Publishes on his Blog instead – READ BELOW

Written By: admin - Jul• 30•17

For reasons that will be discovered and reported in a separate posting, Councilman Rob Crawley was not allowed to present his final message to the Citizens of Cedar Hills who elelcted him, in the City's June Newsletter with the information he desired.   A compromized / sanitized version was printed, Crawley published the following on his personal blog, likely seen by few residents, as follows:

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Golf Course Financial Update and Farewell to Cedar Hills

By Councilman Rob Crawley – final post as a Councilman on his own blog  http://cedarhillsrob.blogspot.com/

 

My last day as a City Council Member in Cedar Hills will be June 4th as my family is moving out of the city.  I will miss being a part of this great city.  My last newsletter entry will be an update regarding the golf course financials, which is the same topic which started my involvement in Cedar Hills politics.  Following is a chart of financial investments from the city residents through taxes and through fund transfers since the inception of the golf course:

Rob Crawley blog Jun 6 2017

Note>The numbers added for the Pro Shop in 2012 only included a pro-rata portion of the approximate $2.9 Million to build the Community Rec Center/Pro Shop.

 

These numbers come directly from the city audited financial statements.  In addition to the investment in the golf course by residents through other fund transfers and through property tax payments, the city, at the end of fiscal year 2016 had golf debt of $5,350,000.  The total investment in the golf course including the above numbers and debt is $12,915,713.  If anyone says the total investment/spending on the golf course is significantly more or less than this number, they are probably trying to manipulate you.  If they will not tell you the number they think it is and will not tell you what they are excluding or including and only say this number is wrong, they are being dishonest.  You can't say a number is wrong unless you know what that number should be and are willing to explain how it is wrong and what it should be.

During our golf course committee meetings in 2015, the city prepared a schedule of cash investments into the golf course through fiscal year 2015 that totaled $12,600,180.  This shows that the city calculations from the audited financial statements and my calculations based on the audited financial statements tell a similar story.  The city forecast provided during the golf course committee meetings showed that for 2017 through 2021 an additional average investment of $572,380 per year is expected.  These are the raw facts regarding the golf course.  These facts do show that there is significant investment placed in the golf course and significant investment required in the future.  However, through looking into the financial statements of the golf course there are also some positive things to point out.

The golf course is comprised of 166 acres.  The total investment in the golf course through 2016 was approximately $12.9 Million.  If you divide the total investment by the number of acres, the average price per acre is about $78,000 per acre.  This is much lower than the market price per acre currently and the value of land will only increase as land becomes more and more scarce in our city.  The initial investment in the golf course was approximately $7,000,000 and was funded mostly by a bond.  We are paying for this investment yearly by an amount of approximately $360,000 for which the city taxes the residents to pay for most of this.  This equates to about $140 per year per household.

In addition to the initial investment in the golf course that was funded by the bond debt, the golf course operating losses have required a subsidy from other funds in order to keep the golf course financially viable.  The average per year subsidy since the building of the clubhouse/community rec center has been between $140,000 and $184,000 (Between $54 and $70 per residence).  The city has started development of a maintenance shed and office for the golf course that will cost between $350,000 and $400,000, which will increase the yearly subsidy for the year in which this is built.

Some good news is that the golf revenues have been about $50,000 higher since 2014 when compared to prior to 2014.  This appears to be from more corporate golf events being scheduled as the golf manager (Wade) has worked really hard to get more of these scheduled at the golf course.  As a result, without a significant increase in the subsidy for 2015 and 2016, the golf cash balance has increased from $61,386 in 2014 to $166,590 in 2015 and then to $233,496 in 2016.  It appears that after the golf maintenance shed is built, the subsidy from other funds may be able to be reduce to under $100,000 per year.

Do residents get $200+ in value per year from this investment?  That depends on your perspective.  Some feel that living next to a golf course is worth more than this amount to them.  Some go for walks through the golf course trails and enjoy this and consider the $200 per year well worth this investment. Some who live close to the golf course feel that the golf course props up their property values and is therefore worth the continuous investment into the golf course.  Others feel that the golf course does not increase their property values and does not provide any day to day value to them, but only represents a cost to them.  Both points are valid for both sides and both sides should respect the opinions of the other.

The fact is that there are other options than having a golf course. Selling some of the land that is in Highland and a couple of small areas in Cedar Hills, could provide the funds to pay off the debt and still allow most of the open space in Cedar Hills to remain open space as parks.  This option would have some positive results including having more park space and allowing residents to use the open space whether they enjoy golf or not.  However, this will not happen in the near term as those that feel that the golf course increases their property values and those that love to golf are much more passionate about keeping the status quo than those that would prefer to not pay for the golf course they don’t use.  The golf course is here to stay barring any unforeseen political movement in the city by those who would rather have parks.

The pro-golf course group has become very organized, to the point that they can determine and have determined nearly each election period who gets in office over the last 10+ years.  They choose those that will protect the golf course and not ask serious questions about its profitability or cash requirements.

My goal through getting to the truth about the golf course financials was to help the city come to a position of peace through knowledge of the facts.  I believe the solution is for the city to analyze the golf course financials through a golf course committee once every 5 years. This committee needs to be a fresh group that does not come in with biases and an honest discussion needs to be had each time.  Good arguments need to be presented and then the discussion needs to be put to bed for 5 years, except for a yearly update of the numbers as the financials come out each year (such as this one).  There needs to be less pressure from the organized pro-golf course political party in the city during these meetings to allow the truth to be discussed openly without shaming for those that ask legitimate questions.

This is my last week as a city council member.  I am happy with my service and feel that adding clarity to golf course financial information was a small portion of my service.  I feel that we need a good conservative council member to be appointed and then elected that will try to keep our debt down as a city.  In a 5-member Council, changing one conservative voice can have a drastic change on the outcome on certain issues.  Following are some of the unnecessary spending items that I hope the city will avoid in the future:

   1)  Pressurized irrigation metering

   2)  Library

   3)  Taking ownership or partial ownership of Canyon Road

   4)  Swimming pool/rec center

   5)  Extending our sewer service across canyon road to service a small number of residences

 

Following are some things I would have liked to accomplish, but lacked the support of the council:

   1)      Put a stop to paying dues to the liberal lobbying efforts of Utah League of Cities and Towns.

   2)      Make it so that the Council/Mayor don’t get unlimited free golf.

 

Following are some of the accomplishments that I feel I have had:

   1)      Helped to make sure that Blue Line did not get approved to build a large building that didn’t conform to our code.

   2)      Helped to switch to Kirton McConkie law firm, which has the resources we need in our city.

   3)      Helped to curtail the spending of approximately $2,000,000 on an unnecessary pressurized irrigation metering system.

   4)      Helped to add clarity to the financial situation of the golf course.

   5)      Helped to make sure there was more balance between what benefits the residents get from the golf course and what the city council/mayor get from the golf course.  Residents now receive a free gift certificate to golf one round yearly and are allowed free golf when bringing two to three paying customers.

   6)      Helped to deter the city from spending approximately $400,000 in extending our sewer service across canyon road which would only “help” a small handful of residents, some of whom are happy on septic tanks.

   7)      On the North Pointe Solid Waste Special Service District, I helped to ensure that a process of expanding the size and reach of the government into a private industry through the creation of a government entity named NUERA was not done secretly behind closed doors.

   8)      Wrote the arguments on the voting ballot against the CARE Tax which ultimately was rejected as it represented an additional tax. (This next year it will be rebranded and presented again as the PARC Tax and put up for a vote).

   9)      Helped to make sure there was more openness and transparency in our city government.

   10)   Asked the hard questions that needed to be asked.

   11)   Served for a year on the beautification committee.

 

I have accomplished most of what I wanted to as a Cedar Hills City Council Member.  Thank you for allowing me to serve our great city.

As a final thought, I want peace in Cedar Hills as most of us do.  Here are some suggestions for having peace in the future:

   1)      City Count/Mayor-Always be forthright and honest, especially with difficult information.  Over-communicate if necessary to make sure that all sides of an argument feel that their voice has been heard and considered.  Publish a yearly update of the golf course financials (like this one).

   2)      Those Who Love the Golf Course-Disband your secret Facebook groups and stop vilifying those who feel it is important to occasionally analyze the golf course.  Sure defend your positions vigorously, but stop spreading rumors about candidates wanting to get rid of the golf course that do not explicitly state that themselves.

   3)      Those Who Don’t Want the Golf Course-Save your arguments until a golf course committee meeting is organized (I suggest once every 5 years, the last one was in 2015) so those who want to keep the golf course don’t constantly feel threatened.

   4)      Remember we are all neighbors and recognize that everyone has valid points in their opinions and it is ok to agree to disagree and still be friends.  Love one another.

 

I feel happy to have given service in Cedar Hills.  I wish the best to all in the city and hope and pray for a bright future for Cedar Hills.

 

PS–Just in case any rumors have started or will start regarding why I resigned.  I resigned because my family is moving to a home in Highland that is just right for our family.  I am sad to not finish my term and explored all possible ways that I might continue on the City Council while doing what is best for my family and found there are no possible ways to remain on the Council while not living in the city of Cedar Hills.  My family took precedence. God first, then family, then country/community.

 

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CH Candidate Filing deadline June 7th — Honorable individuals desired for Mayor & 2 Council Seats

Written By: admin - May• 30•17

run-for-office

 

 

 

 

Cedar Hills Citizens for Responisble Government announces need for honorable men & women to run for office in Cedar Hills.

Note:  Mayor Gary Gygi backed away from a "debate/fight" challenge he made regarding his record, and instead announced that he will not seek re-election — opening the way for real change in Cedar Hills government.  (see recent CHCRG postings)

The following is posted on the CedarHills.org website …

NOTICE OF MUNICIPAL OFFICES  

The municipal offices to be voted on in the City of Cedar Hills Municipal General Election on November 7, 2017, are: Mayor, four-year term, and two City Council Members, four-year terms each. The Candidate Filing Period begins June 1, 2017. Declaration of candidacy forms or nomination petition forms must be filed in person with the City Recorder at 10246 N Canyon Road, Cedar Hills, Utah, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The Candidate Filing Period deadline ends June 7, 2017. 

Candidates for municipal office must meet the following requirements:

  • The person is a registered voter. 
  • The person is a resident within the municipality of Cedar Hills, Utah, for a period of 12 consecutive months immediately before the date of election, or the person is a resident of a recently annexed area into the municipality of Cedar Hills, Utah, for a period of 12 consecutive months immediately before the date of election.
  • The person is mentally incompetent, not convicted of a felony, not convicted of treason, or convicted of a crime against the elective franchise, unless their right to hold elective office has been restored.

And…

2017 Primary and General Municipal Elections

Primary Election Day: August 15, 2017
General Election Day: November 7, 2017

 

For the complete post, and VOTER registration, please see … http://cedarhills.org/mayor-city-council/elections

 

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DHerald: Mayor Gygi not running again / Propagandizes his “service”

Written By: admin - May• 25•17

The Daily Herald reported on April 28 that Mayor Gygi will not be running for Mayor of Cedar Hills, and printed what reads more like a non-paid propaganda piece, complete with glamour photo shoot pics, and printing misleading, unsubstantiated propaganda talking points provided by Mayor Gygi and Council member Jenney Rees.  

The Herald provided no alternative view or comment as is common practice when properly reporting news.   See Daily Herald link for complete story…

Gary Gygi not running again for Cedar Hills mayor seat

http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/north/cedar-hills/gary-gygi-not-running-again-for-cedar-hills-mayor-seat/article_d6fce9ee-a993-5074-a81c-94f38c347443.html 

Some of the more interesting paragraphs included….

"Gygi has been in office six years. He ran as a City Council member and was elected to serve starting 2012. Just a few months after he came into office, he found himself in the mayor’s chair after being appointed to the seat vacated by former mayor Eric Richardson. He ran again for his own term and won in 2013, and has been serving since."

"Vacated"?  Really?  Conveniently left out of the story was any reference to the fact that Mayor Eric Richardson resigned to face Federal Bank fraud charges and serve a 366 day prison sentence and had Gygi as his right-hand man.  This is an important point in understanding how Gygi came to become the new Mayor.  Gygi was often seen at Richardson's side, defending him in the face of requests for his resignation, full disclosure, and providing of public records that were hidden on private email accounts.

2012 FLASHBACK:  Once elected Gygi was often seen at Richardson's side defending him.  See Herald PHOTO of Councilman Gary Gygi beside Eric Richardson at their press conference …

Richardson expects to be cleared of accusations, will not resign


See the PIC and read more of the Herald's May 11, 2012: http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/north/cedar-hills/richardson-expects-to-be-cleared-of-accusations-will-not-resign/article_3f6db090-2003-52ca-aa3f-7f439b4b2afd.html#ixzz1uZlRPIq5


This is importantant because Gygi was then appointed by the same Council that Richardson helped to get elected under false pretenses, manipulation and deciet regarding golf course profitability during the fraudulent 2011 campaign.  

See Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Governments flurry of blog / news report postings during May & June of 2012 as Cedar Hills was constantly on television and in the newspapers.

 The Daily Herald reported that the 2012 Mayor should resign (Gygi stood by Richardson) …  

http://www.cedarhillscitizens.org/daily-herald-ch-mayor-should-resign/

   http://www.cedarhillscitizens.org/2012/05/

       http://www.cedarhillscitizens.org/2012/06/

 

CHCRG has long questioned transparency in CH when the people who may have had much to hide helped get their political friends into office and not execute a "complete forensic audit" to officially correct the record.  Gygi oversaw an admittedly narrow audit, which they claimed cleared the record, but was not a COMPLETE forensic audit.

See the following CHCRG January 1, 2013 report on the The Top Twenty-Two Tragic CH “Milestones” in 2012 

13.)   Council considers a full Forensic audit of city finances.

May 16, 2012 – A statement issued by City Councilwoman Jenney Rees, on behalf of the City Council, stated that the timing of the resignations was coincidental and in no way related to the complaint filed against the mayor.  http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/north/cedar-hills/cedar-hills-meeting-gets-loud-as-residents-fight-about-audit/article_3a1f2862-5234-5f3a-b015-4dfc2de00c18.html

 

Though requested numerous times, to date the City of Cedar Hills has never published a simple, easy to understand year by year schedule of the Cedar Hills Golf Course losses/subsidies on the front page of the City Newsletter to correct the error that our golf course is "cash flow positive" — that got Councilmembers Gygi, Rees and Augustus narrowly elected.  

Had the City not decieved voters the outcome of the election would lkely have been the opposite, which would have brought 100% transparency, informing of residents and a vote on the future of the golf course that loses on average approximately $500,000 per year since opening.  The April 2017 Herald article reads…

According to Rees, the committee was asked to review the financial performance of the golf course and to provide a comprehensive report of the financial health of the golf course to residents. This committee helped residents understand how much the city subsidized the golf course, and the fact that the course would never make money. 

Over the past many months numerous reports from within the Council and City Staff showed moral was extremely low, reportedly due to Mayor Gygi's attempt to "micro manage" and get involved at many levels — an assignment already under the duties and responsibilities of the City Manager.  This makes the following April 2017 Daily Herald article rather questionable…

“Employee morale has never been higher — they are happy, loving their jobs. It’s easy for me to leave knowing the council and staff are enjoying what they are doing,” Gygi said.

Cedar Hills' long time City Manager David Bunker recently resigned to take a City Manager position at American Fork.  CH lost an effective, highly respected, honorable public servant.  Many have expressed concern Gygi had been trying to drive him away in order to usurp control of City Staff outside of CH policy.  

Gygi is now leaving, and according to the Herald possibly aspiring to higher State office (reportedly Gygi has mentioned eyes on the Governor's seat).  So, NO!, of course we are not surprised that, "Employee morale has never been higher".

 

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THANK YOU! – to Cami Gygi & Andrea Crawley and their children

Written By: admin - May• 12•17

Being a spouse and children of a public official is not an easy thing.  

Whether CHCRG agrees with some, all or none of what an elected official has done, their wives and children deserve our HUGE thanks for their personal sacrifices of their spouses / children for missing for many hours at a time, which likely totals weeks and possibly months, — doing the public's business.   council-gary-gygi-180x225

Cami Gygi is the wife of Mayor Gary Gygi and the mother of their three children.  

Andrea Crawley is the wife of Councilman Rob Crawley and the mother for their five children (which includes adoptions).

Both Gygi and Crawley have announced that they will not be running for re-election to their Cedar Hills offices.  Thanks for the good things you both have done.

council-crawley-150x188Cami, Andrea and the children deserve our heartfelt thanks for their selfles sacrifices of their husbands time and attention, they made for the residents of Cedar Hills they hoped would be of blessing and service to us all.  We are grateful.

T H A N K   Y O U !

 

 

 

Note:  Pictures not included to respect privacy.

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