CHCRG’s long-awaited GRAMA request incomplete and/or erroneously fulfilled

Written By: admin - Oct• 27•14

Jerry Dearinger, leader in behalf of 26 other Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government (CHCRG) members who GRAMA requested city email & text records wrote to the City Manager on October 10th saying…

“Non-completion and/or erroneous fulfillment of Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government’s April 9, 2014 GRAMA Request.  Proper fulfillment requested.”

Sam Bushman & Tim Alder’s similar GRAMA request also send NOTICE to the City on October 8, 2014 regarding their GRAMA request’s “Non-completion and/or erroneous fulfillment”.  (see PDF #1 below) A recent call to the Daily Herald confirmed that they too did not receive an accompanying letter of explanation as required by law.

Apparently the City has been following questionable advice regarding GRAMA law provided by City Attorney Eric Johnson, which according to the State’s expert — State Records Ombudsman Rosemary Cundiff — analysis of the City’s obligation under GRAMA law.

Also, on a related matter, Ken Cromar – researcher for CHCRG, who request for one-month of Mayor Gygi’s emails, also received a response, but also without proper accompanying explanation by the city.  Cromar met with City Manager Bunker and encouraged him to seek advice and clarification on GRAMA law from State’s professional Ombudsman Rosemary Cundiff.   (see PDF #2 below)

The following is Jerry Dearinger’s letter from CHCRG in behalf of the group and 26 request signers:

 

October 10, 2014

 

David Bunker

Chief Administrative Officer

10246 N. Canyon Road

Cedar Hills, UT  84062

 

SUBJECT: Non-completion and/or erroneous fulfillment of Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government’s April 9, 2014 GRAMA Request.  Proper fulfillment requested.

 

Dear Mr. Bunker,

First, may I offer my appreciation for the many good things you and the city staff do in behalf of me, my family and the good people of Cedar Hills.  Thank you.

As you know, on April 9, 2014, 26-members of Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government signed under my name a GRAMA Request for specific city business email and text public records.  This request was similar, but not identical to that of the Daily Herald and Sam Bushman & Tim Aalder’s GRAMA Request.

Recently, I learned via the city attorney’s email to the mediation group and through an article in the Daily Herald that the fulfillment of our Requests was imminent.  I learned that Mr. Bushman had received an email notification that his request was ready, but I did not.  Later, I went to the City Office and learned that my GRAMA Request was fulfilled and ready for my pickup.

Upon review of the material, I realized the response disc is labeled “Daily Herald” and hence appears to be non-compliant and/or erroneously fulfilled for a number of reasons, the most significant of which is that the Herald reportedly agreed to narrow their request, while Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government did not.  There was no other documentation accompanying the disc.

One of the most important unresolved issues from the June 11th mediation meeting at the Highland Fire Station, was a clear understanding by all of what the City was agreeing to provide in the fulfillment of Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government group and Sam Bushman’s GRAMA Request and our similar request.  During the mediation the city attorney said email records which had been printed to paper before destruction were no longer electronic emails, and would not be provided.  Mayor Gary Gygi disagreed with him and they debated that point in front of the group without resolution I could observe.  Since then, the City Attorney concluded and insisted that “we all agreed” on what the City would provide, but I and others including Mr. Bushman did not agree, thus making the attorney’s position inaccurate.

Also, while the Daily Herald agreed to limit their GRAMA request, to my knowledge, none of the Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government signers agreed to change our group’s request.  Therefore, our GRAMA Request remains unchanged, different from the fulfillment the Daily Herald’s altered request, and therefore an accurately responsive fulfillment of our GRAMA Responsive would have to be substantively different than the Herald’s.

Additionally, according to Utah Code Section 63G-2-205 my understanding is that the City is required to provide a letter of explanation regarding any portion of a responsive GRAMA Request fulfillment that is withheld, and our legal options regarding appeal, to whom, timeframe, etc, and other legal alternatives.  Such letter was not provided and/or the materials provided were erroneous and non-responsive to our April 9, 2014 GRAMA Request.  Therefore, it is our position that our Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government’s GRAMA Request has not been fulfilled as per GRAMA law.

In conclusion, as the Chief Administrative Officer for Cedar Hills responsible for such issues, may I respectfully invite you to send our GRAMA request with correct and accurate documentation as per State Code at your earliest convenience, so that our Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government group may determine what our options are, please?

Respectfully,

 

Jerry Dearinger – GRAMA Request submitter & legal analyst for…

Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government

4211 W. Manila Creek Drive

Cedar Hills UT 84062

 

Sam Bushman’s letter requesting proper GRAMA fulfillment — PDF #1 …  Sam Bushman’s Oct. 8, 2014 letter to Bunker on erroneously fulfilled GRAMA request

 

Ken Cromar / CHCRG’s letter requesting proper GRAMA fulfillment — PDF #2 …    CHCRG – Ken Cromar’s notice of City’s non-completion of GRAMA request

 

Congratulations to Daily Herald!

Written By: admin - Oct• 13•14

EDITOR’S NOTE: Daily Herald changes format of online comments

Front Page •  Sunday - October 04, 2014 10:00 pm  •  David Kennard Executive Editor

 

PROVO – Our website will undergo a significant change beginning today. Readers who want to comment on news, columns, editorials, features, sports and all other content at heraldextra.com will be required to log in through a Facebook account.

The change is intended to eliminate offensive, profane and threatening comments from our website. We believe if online readers are required to identify themselves publicly to express an opinion, as print readers do for a letter to the editor in The Daily Herald, the overall tenor and tone of conversation will improve.

Publisher Bob Williams explained the change:

“The very foundation of what we do is for the protection of the freedom of speech and expression. This includes open and constructive dialogue between opposing viewpoints within our print and online products,” Williams said. “But that right does not extend to those who want to hide behind anonymity to make hateful or spiteful statements. We will continue to solicit and encourage comments from our readers.”

This decision was not reached hastily, or with little discussion. We have been concerned about the name-calling, taunting and impolite language on the website bearing our name. It is our goal to provide a forum for thoughtful, energetic debate, not personal attacks and emotional screeds that are hurtful — not informative.

Facebook requires users to supply their names, just as we do for letters that are printed on the Opinion page. We believe that anyone who wishes to make comments in a public forum identify themselves. It’s just that simple.

 

For complete article see…   http://www.heraldextra.com/editor-s-note-daily-herald-changes-format-of-online-comments/article_33fa8939-0f3a-549b-b41c-52496f79788c.html

 

Mayor Gygi and City Attorney attempt to block Councilman Crawley’s transparency efforts

Written By: admin - Sep• 22•14

Why is Mayor Gygi holding secret meetings about Councilman Crawley and using the city attorney to hide public records?

Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government (CHCRG) discovered in newly requested emails that Councilman Crawley is the topic of the Mayor’s “Secret Meetings With Council Members”.   This information was found within one-month’s worth of Mayor Gary Gygi’s emails with Council members, were made available last week.

Councilman Crawley’s email asks Mayor Gygi in an August 29th email, “I would like to know what was discussed at these meetings and why you felt it was necessary to hold these meetings with all council members besides me.”  (see copy of the email below)

Apparently the Mayor refused to reply.  Councilman Crawley writes to the rest of the Council asking their input, “Mayor Gygi has not responded to my email so I would ask other Council Members to let me know the answers to my questions below.”  (see September 2, 2014 email below)

Usurping Power and Control

The lack of transparency has resulted in Councilmembers Trent Augustus and Daniel Zappala joining Crawley in asking questions during recorded City Council meetings of Mayor Gygi, which he refuses to answer.  The Council Meeting audio recordings that are quite telling and demonstrate the Mayor’s apparent effort to inappropriately usurp control of the Council and city staff, hide its public records, require the Council to go through him to get the city attorney’s legal advice, and his refusal to respond to Council members emails, preferring “to talk”.

The audio documents Council members saying they haven’t been able to trust the Mayor to accurately remember the conversations and insist he document his responses via email.

Later that same day September 2nd, Councilman Crawley wrote a detailed letter to Mayor Gygi listing eleven concerns regarding the Mayor’s unwillingness to respond to the elected official’s emails.

“I would like to have had some good discussions via email regarding these issues and sorted through them, but you don’t respond to my emails. We may need to discuss some of these issues in public meetings to get to the bottom of them.”

Council Crawley’s September 2, 2014 email to Mayor Gygi also includes an transcription from the February 18th City Council Work Session audio recording (audio available at http://www.cedarhills.org/node/2659 ) :

“As a new council person on February 18th we were given a discourse on GRAMA from our attorney [Eric] Johnson which included this statement:

“So really you need to decide where your alliance and allegiance is.  Most would say by virtue of being in this body. Here’s where your first alliance and allegiance lies And you would want to do nothing that would compromise that. Ok. and it isn’t that you’re not going to have other friends throughout the community but you would, you would use your discretion to make sure that you didn’t compromise your relationship here in order to foster another relationship elsewhere.” (sic)

In Councilman Crawley’s email item #10 highlights the attorney’s, “…faulty legal advice was given to the council to try to keep us from disclosing important details of city business and correspondence.”  And, in item #11 adds his complaint, “…opinions in internal emails between city council members and then insists on keeping these internal emails private.”

If this information is true, CHCRG finds the news disturbing that a Mayor would actively work against an lawfully elected Councilman individually to withhold information from him, and actively work against him for selfish political purposes, while simultaneously working to hide the public record from Cedar Hills citizens with help of the city attorney.

Courageous Council members

CHCRG applauds Councilman Crawley’s efforts – and other courageous Council members – to seek the truth through emails, proper legal advice, and transparency with the public records.

Additionally, Councilman Crawley expresses in his September 2nd email concern regarding legal advice by the City Attorney Eric Johnson regarding how to create attorney-client privilege protection of emails by simply CC-ing him any email.

City Attorney Eric Johnson provided this questionable advice in his own voice at the 15:00 minute mark, speaking before the City Council in Work Session February 18, 2014.  Click on link to listen…

Attny Johnson -Council Work Session 2014 Feb 18.15.00

 

CHCRG legal research and State Record Ombudsman Rosemary Cundiff provides evidence that suggests the Mayor and Council following this advice may be illegal.

CHCRG is concerned that their GRAMA request for Mayor Gygi’s emails may not be complete because of the city policy to withhold any email that is CC-ed to city attorney Eric Johnson as “attorney client privilege” and withhold the related emails.

This means that ALL previous GRAMA requests and the forthcoming GRAMA Request by the Daily Herald, talk show hosts Sam Bushman and Tim Alders, and 26 members of Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government may indeed be INCOMPLETE.

This may require an Appeal be filed even before the new GRAMA requested information can even be reviewed.

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The following are the actual email referenced above…

 

From: Rob Crawley

To: Gary Gygi; Trent Augustus; Jenney Rees; Mike Geddes; Daniel Zappala

Subject: Secret Meetings With Council Members

Date: Friday, August 29, 2014 8:34:11 AM

 

Gary,

I have gotten wind that you have held semi-secret meetings with council members about me where you have described me as having gone “rogue”. When I say semi-secret at least they were meant to be secret from me. I wonder if they were meant to be secret from the residents also. I would like to know what was discussed at these meetings and why you felt it was necessary to hold these meetings with all council members besides me.

Rob

________________________________________

 

From: Rob Crawley

To: Gary Gygi; Trent Augustus; Jenney Rees; Mike Geddes; Daniel Zappala

Subject: RE: Secret Meetings With Council Members

Date: Tuesday, September 02, 2014 12:58:30 PM

 

Mayor Gygi has not responded to my email so I would ask other Council Members to let me know the answers to my questions below. Thanks,

Rob

________________________________________

 

From: Rob Crawley

To: Gary Gygi; Trent Augustus; Jenney Rees; Daniel Zappala; Mike Geddes

Subject: Complaints About Mayor Gygi

Date: Tuesday, September 02, 2014 5:28:55 PM

Mayor Gygi,

I have said many good things about you in the past and the job you have done as a mayor. However, lately things keep popping up that make me question your motives and your loyalty. We all have some desire to self-promote as human beings. However, it is our obligation as public servants to keep that desire last on our priorities. I would like to have had some good discussions via email regarding these issues and sorted through them, but you don’t respond to my emails. We may need to discuss some of these issues in public meetings to get to the bottom of them. Also, I may be wrong on some of my statements or assumptions below. But, how can I know if we can’t correspond regarding these issues?

As a new council person on February 18th we were given a discourse on GRAMA from our attorney Erik Johnson which included this statement:

So really you need to decide where your alliance and allegiance is. Most would say by virtue of being in this body. Here’s where your first alliance and allegiance lies And you would want to do nothing that would compromise that. Ok. and it isn’t that you’re not going to have other friends throughout the community but you would, you would use your discretion to make sure that you didn’t compromise your relationship here in order to foster another relationship elsewhere.

I asked [Eric] to clarify after the meeting because I couldn’t believe someone was suggesting that our loyalty should be to this body over the residents of the city or the city itself and he clarified that he would suggest that my loyalty be to the City Council over the city residents if I want to get anything done as a council member. I was shocked and couldn’t believe my ears. First of all, our loyalty should be to the betterment of the city. Secondly, if my relationship with the Mayor or other City Council Members is hurt by my loyalty to the residents of this city AS A WHOLE (of course it should not be loyalty to minority factions within the city), then that city official does not deserve my loyalty. I believe most of us are loyal to the city as a whole. However, there are things that make me question your loyalty to the city and your motives Mayor Gygi as follows:

1) Insisted on calling the city budget “the Mayors budget” and claimed that all other cities call it that. After several phone calls, I found that I didn’t find another city that called it “the Mayor’s budget”.

2) Despite the council consistently saying they are not interested in pursuing any agreement where the city has financial responsibility for SR-146 he continued to pursue that goal and despite my asking for information regarding his meetings, he continually withheld information about conversations and meetings he has held.

3) On the decisions survey there is a comment about several things the Mayor had done that someone has disagreed with including storing his personal storage on city property and creating a culture of fear between the staff and Mayor Gygi. This is just an opinion survey not a formal complaint, but the fact that I saw the Mayor and Council Member Rees discussing accusingly that this was probably an employee makes me concerned that they may try to find out which employee this was.

4) Mayor Gygi seems to be overly focused on how things make him look. I.e. there seems to be more emphasis at times on protecting his image than in doing what is best for the city.

5) After I expressed disagreement with him on his interpretation of the decisions survey results (as you can listen to from the August 5th meeting), he held secret meetings with all other city Council Members besides myself to plot against me and called me a “rogue” council member to Council Members in those meetings. I have asked him through email to verify why he did this with no response.

6) When he and I have had verbal agreements between each other he has not always kept his word.

7) He has stated many times that he does not like communicating through email, but then changes what he says during verbal conversations so I feel like I need to communicate through email with him to protect myself.

8)  He seems to expect loyalty from employees and council members and plays political tactics when people don’t play the part of a “Yes Man”.

9) He dismisses those that disagree with him politically as the vocal minority and classifies myself and many others in that group so he can ignore their opinions.

10) He uses the city attorney to promote his agenda such as in the February 18th work session where faulty legal advice was given to the council to try to keep us from disclosing important details of city business and correspondence.

11) He states one opinion publicly and then other opinions in internal emails between city council members and then insists on keeping these internal emails private.

Mayor Gygi, I am concerned that your focus has gone from serving the city and doing only what is best for the city to trying to self-promote. I am concerned that your personal animosity towards some in the city and your personal desire to posture for future political positions drives much of your words and actions more than a sincere desire to serve the city. I respectfully suggest that you humbly and thoughtfully consider what your purpose for being Mayor is and make some changes. I sincerely like you and care about you, but I think you are on a path that is destructive to yourself and harmful to the city.

Sincerely,

Rob Crawley

Cedar Hills City Council Member

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.END

330 Days & Counting

Written By: admin - Aug• 30•14

No Records, No Signed Affidavits, No more Mediation

Normally, getting a GRAMA request (freedom of information) usually takes 10 days or less.

But in Cedar Hills, when asking for the Mayor and other city official’s email records, things suddenly get very, very complicated.

In 2012, an GRAMA request for email records took over 210 days, but victory was awarded by the Utah State Records Committee when it ORDERED to the City of Cedar Hills to gather the requested email of city business emails from all  email accounts, personal, city or from wherever.  (“APPEAL GRANTED” see case #12-11 “UPHELD” http://archives.utah.gov/src/srcappeals-2010-2012.html )

Unfortunately, many of the city business email records were kept on personal email accounts and allow to be destroyed by three out-going Council members Jim Perry, Marisa Wright and Ken Kirk.  We’ll probably never know what was in those email, reminding us of the current Lois Lerner / IRS scandal of mysteriously “destroyed” emails.

Additionally, we could never understand how the Mayor Gygi and Council could justify spending $30,000 in legal fees, in order to collect $766 in fees from the GRAMA requestors?

More recently, the delays got worse.  The original GRAMA request that began October 1, 2013, has now taken 330 days and still counting, with several overlapping GRAMA requests, negotiations and mediations, requesting the same email and text, with no records yet provided.  It takes a lot of expensive attorney fees to withhold public records.

The original GRAMA request (or Freedom of Information) that began October 1, 2013, has now taken 330 days and still counting, with no records from our GRAMA Request yet provided.  And the clock continues to tick.

Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government (CHCRG) and 26 member-signers, along with the Daily Herald, and radio talk show hosts Tim Alders and Sam Bushman, signed similar GRAMA requests for these same public business email and text records.  Still no results.

Mayor Gygi, city officials and the city attorney, have been caught in numerous falsehoods during the mediation process with the Utah State Records Ombudsmen Rosemary Cundiff, when their questionable legal strategies were exposed.  According to emails it appears that the City has now indirectly rejected the mediation process, however we don’t have that in writing from the City Manager, who is responsible for doing so.

As a compromise, the City asked our requests to be narrowed, in exchange for their signed Affidavits under penalty of perjury, that would PROVES they were telling the truth about their email and text records.  They’ve since refused to sign mutually agreeable under penalty of perjury Affidavits.
No Records, No Signed Affidavits, No more Mediation?
The reason honesty is so important is if city officials are misleading in small things, what about larger issues?

Could this all be part of a larger cover-up in Cedar Hills government?

See the Daily Herald article below…

State records office denies Cedar Hills group’s records request

August 24, 2014 6:37 pm  •  Cathy Allred Daily Herald

CEDAR HILLS – The Utah State Archives records officer has refused a records request for communication records — emails and texts — between Cedar Hills city officials and the State Government Records ombudsman, Rosemary Cundiff.

For complete article see…


Bravest Cedar Hills Councilman — is Rob Crawley!

Written By: admin - Aug• 09•14

Mayor Gary Gygi is pushing for a $2 million bond (tax increase) for pressurized irrigation meters on every home

Mayor Gygi promoted, and the Council awarded, his business associate Richard Nobel a $10,000 water study contract.
Councilman Rob Crawley proposed trying to avoid the bond tax increase through alternating water days, as other cities successfully used.  His proposal was ignored by Mayor Gygi & other Council members.
Bravely, Councilman Crawley published a public posting, against the Mayor & some Council members, saying he sees it a conflict of interest for CH religious leader Richard Nobel to provide a $10,000 water metering feasibility study that may propose, and also be considered for a $2 million P.I. meter installation contract.  (see his two postings from Cedar Hills Forum below)
Council Crawley says that out of respect and protection for his Church and Richard Nobel’s reputation / ethics is declaring in advance he will NOT VOTE FOR on any such a proposed contract.

CEDAR HILLS CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT applauds Councilman ROB CRAWLEY for his brave and honorable leadership on this important issue!

Please come to a special Town Hall Meeting, Thursday August 14th, 7:00 p.m. at the CH Golf Clubhouse.

Highlights from Councilman Rob Crawley’s posting at www.aboutcedarhills.org…

Rob Crawley – Posted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 7:16 am

I am at odds with some in the city on the issue of pressurized irrigation metering. I would like to see us have a few years of education and maybe even tough restrictions before spending $2 Million on meters. The jury is still out for me (and others on the council I think) because we are gathering a lot more information this year than we had last year regarding usage. Also, we are in the middle of an outside study that should help us.

My only concern with the outside study is that the same group that is doing our pressurized irrigation study and will be coming up with recommendations is the group that is a front-runner for getting the business of designing the pressurized irrigation metering system.

I am never in favor of putting a good person such as Richard Noble in a position of a possible conflict of interest. Although, I consider him a great man and above abusing this position, I would not vote for his group to do any work on a project that they did the feasibility study on, just because it would look bad to others that may not know him as well as I feel that I do. For the record, I will not vote for his group to do any work on the system if they recommend doing the system because we are relying on them to give us an independent opinion. (emphasis added)


I believe stating this at this point, may in itself reduce any conflict of interest possibilities.

To thank & support & ask questions, contact Councilman Rob Crawley at rcrawley@cedarhills.org

Please encourage and applaud other Council members who join Rob’s reasonable and wise position.

 

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HERALD: CH Mayor Gygi & officials back-peddle on signing Affidavits that would prove their honesty

Written By: admin - Jun• 30•14

Cedar Hills leaders stand their ground: no money, then no records, they say

Cathy Allred Daily Herald / Sunday June 29, 2014 – front page

CEDAR HILLS — City leaders are standing their ground about releasing any information, including signed affidavits, for those seeking information through the Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA).

Cedar Hills city officials and north Utah County residents who have made records requests of the city reached a mediation agreement that city leaders would sign and notarize affidavits stating the elected officials and city staff did not conduct government business through personal emails, texts or phones.

“As of yesterday, I looked into the audio recording of the meeting and they said that they will. That is a real simple thing just to sign the affidavit,” said Ken Cromar, Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government (CHCRG) representative and former council member.

At a mediation meeting earlier this month with a state official, city leaders said they were ready to sign an affidavit according to Sam Bushman, a nationally syndicated talk show host for LibertyRoundTable.com and Cromar, who recorded the session.

So far those affidavits have not been produced.

Because of the discrepancy in expectations from the mediation meeting, the mediator Utah State Records Ombudsman Rosemary Cundiff is seeking to arrange a second mediation session.

Cedar Hills mayor, Gary Gygi, said the city staff and representatives would not be agreeing to another mediation meeting.

Read the complete article…

http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/north/cedar-hills/cedar-hills-leaders-stand-their-ground-no-money-then-no/article_4fd05009-2356-590c-87d9-2cbde935d3f4.html

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Daily Herald GUEST OPINION: Call for change in Utah County Attorney’s office – plus various links

Written By: admin - Jun• 24•14

Today is primary election day in Utah, when parties vote on who will represent them on the ballot in November.  Because most of Utah County is Republican, races are often decided in June, — today.

This website is for the purpose of information and documentation as a public service to Cedar Hills residents.  While we are very attentive to the facts that relate to Cedar Hills and county governments, Cedar Hill Citizens for Responsible Government (CHCRG) does not endorse candidates.  This articles and links posted below are provided at the latest possible moment so as to be timely, and document this snapshot of time, of how the County Attorney’s Office has directly and adversely impacted Cedar Hills residents and others.

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Call for change in Utah County Attorney’s office

Daily Herald – June 22, 2014 12:00 am  •  Roger and Pamela Mortensen

Roger & Pamela Mortensen were wrongly imprisoned for five months by the County Attorney Jeffrey Buhman charged with murder of Kay Mortensen (Roger’s father). They wrote the following Opinion piece, which included, “We spent many months in jail and were very near trial before what we believe was an act of God — an informant revealed the identities of the real murderers.”

County Attorney responds to editorial

Daily Herald - June 22, 2014 5:18 pm  •  Jeff Buhman

“The Utah County Attorney’s Office makes prosecution decisions based only on the law and the evidence. When given evidence by potential suspects that is inculpatory, inconsistent and untrue, we and the police (and grand juries and judges) can make incorrect decisions. However, if we make an incorrect decision, we immediately correct it, as we did in this case.”

For complete article… http://www.heraldextra.com/news/opinion/utah-valley/county-attorney-responds-to-editorial/article_f9f9c120-3630-5b63-9360-686b0b6cac6c.html

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County attorney race: Experience vs. Change

June 14, 2014 2:00 pm  •  Billy Hesterman Daily Herald

Related Links

•    Ben Stanley website http://voteben.com

•    Jeff Buhman website http://countyattorneybuhman.com

PROVO — Utah County voters will have to ask themselves if they are satisfied with the status quo or if it is time for a change in the county attorney’s office when they head to the polls in the Republican primary election on June 24.

For complete article… http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/elections/county-attorney-race-experience-vs-change/article_f21e6c52-c296-5756-a97c-8b4c4b142bbd.html

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County attorney race: Focusing on past cases

June 14, 2014 4:00 pm  •  Paige Fieldsted DAILY HERALD

The Utah County Attorney race is bringing past cases back into the spotlight as incumbent Jeff Buhman works to defend the decisions made by him and his office against the accusations from his challenger Ben Stanley.

For complete article… http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/elections/county-attorney-race-focusing-on-past-cases/article_ab85578e-c330-5043-9bd0-a4169a48dc73.html

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My Opinion: Utah Co Attorney’s Office – A Culture of Intimidation & Abuse of Power

Written By: admin - Jun• 21•14

My Opinion: Utah County Attorney’s Office – A Culture of Intimidation and Abuse of Power

A Special Message from Representative Brian Greene

Dear Utah County Neighbor,

As an elected representative of the people, I feel obligated to express my profound disappointment in our current County Attorney, Jeff Buhman, and to reinforce the call to end his tenure in that position during this primary election cycle. From the start, Mr. Buhman’s campaign has been rife with false claims and misinformation about his challenger, Ben Stanley; but, most recently, he has resorted to abusing the power of his office to improperly obtain and disclose private records in a misguided attempt to discredit his challenger. Sadly, Mr. Buhman’s campaign is but a reflection of the mindset employed in the administration of our County Attorney’s office: win at all costs.  Mr. Buhman’s conduct reveals that he clearly does not understand that neither winning re-election, nor being ”tough on crime,” require the abandonment of principles or violation of law.

As disappointing as the level of negativity and misrepresentation of his challenger’s experience and qualifications is, Mr. Buhman’s personal assaults on the character of citizens who support Ben Stanley are reprehensible and inexcusable. Such tactics demonstrate a penchant for abuse and intimidation that has no place in government—especially in an office charged with upholding law and order.

In addition to his demonstrated lack of integrity, as a seasoned County Attorney, Mr. Buhman is certainly aware of the statutory prohibitions against (a) making false statements about another candidate (see, Utah Code § 20A-11-1103), and (b) the public disclosure of private records (see, Utah Code § 63G-2-302(1)(g)). Yet, neither a devotion to civility and integrity (which are indispensible character traits for anyone holding his office), nor a commitment to abide by the law has restrained Mr. Buhman in his “win at all costs” pursuit of victory. Such blind ambition and premium on victory have bred a culture of indifference to justice in our County Attorney’s office—a culture that may ultimately threaten the liberty of every Utah County citizen. 

In my opinion—which is shaped by my years of experience as an attorney in Utah County—it is time to replace Mr. Buhman with a new public servant committed to putting our County Attorney’s office back on the side of the citizens.  We have recently witnessed in our Utah Attorney General’s office the kind of institutional corruption that can quickly evolve when we, the voters, fail to demand change at the first sign of impropriety. Let’s not allow our County Attorney’s office to experience the same fate.

In recent years, I have come to know Ben Stanley very well, and I know that he is committed to integrity and the rule of law. I am 100% confident that he has the skill, knowledge and character to be an effective County Attorney, and that he will faithfully represent the interests of Utah County and its citizens. Please join with me in electing Ben as our next Utah County Attorney.

Brian Greene
State Representative – LD57, Pleasant Grove & American Fork

 

 

State Records Committee votes 7 to 0 requiring 7-year email preservation

Written By: admin - Jun• 14•14
The following Public comment was read at the State Records Committee regarding how many years email should be required to be kept by local governments like Cedar Hills.
Originally the Committee was considering three years.  After considering a three year requirement, the Committee allowed public comment.
Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government (CHCRG) members suggested that with modern technology the need to destroy records to create space no longer exists.  The Attorney General’s Office wrote a letter surprising most everyone recommending 7-years.  (see Utah Archives Blog posting for May 20, 2014 at http://recordskeepers.wordpress.com )
The following letter from CHCRG was read before the Records Committee at their 9 a.m. meeting June 12, as follows:
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June 12, 2014 – 8:30 a.m.

To the Esteemed Records Committee Members,

Thank you for your thoughtful and generous service to the public as a member of the State Records Committee.  Few will ever know or appreciate the time you devote to the cause of promoting “the public’s right of easy and reasonable access to unrestricted public records”.  (63G 2-102-3(a))

As you know, Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government, an ad hoc taxpayers group, has struggled in “easily and reasonably” obtaining city business email records from our City, whose 12-month policy of email destruction made our effort to watch our local government incredibly difficult.  We may be visiting your Committee again soon, despite 8-months of behind the scenes effort to avoid that need, by working through the Ombudsman to invite the City into mediation on our current GRAMA request.  Fortunately, we finally met with the city under her capable mediation last night.

Since last month’s Records Committee Meeting I’ve spent much time thinking about our plight in Cedar Hills surrounding six major resignations including the City Recorder, and the Mayor who plead guilty and went to prison (on non-city issues), as it relates to the Attorney General Office’ 7-year recommendation.  These key points jumped out from the AG Office’s proposal:

“We recommend that the retention period for the proposed “Administrative Correspondence” be enlarged from three years to seven years.  The reason for this is legal need – to make sure that documents necessary to protect Utah’s interests in future lawsuits are not destroyed prematurely, and to provide greater protection to the state from liability based upon the doctrine of spoliation. …”


The AG Office’s proposal sounds like a plea for help for them to be able to perform their duty to protect the good people of this State, from those who are not.  You are in a position to help them with their responsibility to protect us.

Last month I wrote public comment recommending that preserving the email public record permanently would help serve the purpose of encouraging officials away from the temptations so prevalent to those entrusted with public taxpayer treasure.  Those comments were highlighted in better detail on your Records Keepers blog which you might consider reading.   [ http://recordskeepers.wordpress.com ]

Simply stated, in light of yearly technology jumps that continue to bring down the size and cost, I do not believe that in this modern day, there is any need to destroy the records, and that at some point the Committee will look back and wonder why we ever destroyed records. May I humbly predict that in the near future this Committee will revisit this issue to discuss jumping from the likely-to-be-adopted new AG office seven-year proposal, and see the wisdom of, and vote for, permanent retention.

In the meanwhile, after much thought and consideration I, as a former elected City Councilman of Cedar Hills interested in protecting my fellow taxpayers in Cedar Hills and the State and government officials from themselves, must lend my wholehearted support to the Attorney General Office’s 7-year recommendation and invite you to vote in favor of that recommendation.

Thank You,


Ken Cromar — Researcher
Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government
Former CH Councilman -1994 to 2000
Later that same morning the Committee voted unanimously 7 to 0 in favor of the seven years email retention schedule for municipalities like Cedar Hills.  We are gratified.
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Memorial Day Thanks!

Written By: admin - May• 26•14

Photo by Todd Heisler – Rocky Mountain News

On this Memorial Day, to those who sacrificed all, so that we might enjoy Freedom — your friends at Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government say Thank You!  May God bless you and your families! Please enjoy this song dedicated to those whose ultimate gift we can never repay called, “Love is Stronger”.

http://www.miraclesthemovie.com/love-is-stronger.html

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