Key cities in the county are still balking at a proposed interlocal agreement governing operations of the countywide undercover narcotics strike force. If their objections aren't resolved in 10 days, it will cost the strike force $90,000.
The Davis Metro Narcotics Strike Force is operating on a $90,000 federal anti-drug grant, but if the agreement isn't approved by the cities contributing manpower to the agency by Oct. 1, the grant is lost, Deputy County Attorney Bill McGuire said Wednesday.McGuire drew up the proposed agreement, but several cities have raised questions and objections, centered on accountability, liability and the division of assets seized by the agents.
McGuire told members of the Davis Council of Governments (COG), made up of city, county and school district officials, that time is growing short and if the agreement isn't approved by the end of the month, the $90,000 grant funding the strike force for this year will have to be repaid.
The mayors who raised objections to the agreement appeared unmoved by the plea, some even hostile.
They feel their objections haven't been addressed properly, either in the original proposal or in an amended version that McGuire drew up after last month's COG meeting.
Approval of the agreement is required from Kaysville, Clearfield, Layton, Bountiful, and the County Commission because they all donate a full-time officer to the strike force, and the federal grant requires the approval of the manpower donors, McGuire said.
Of those entities, only Kaysville and Bountiful have approved the proposal. Other Davis cities contribute money on a per capita formula.
Some cities don't participate at all.
Mayor Norm Sant of Sunset, which hasn't participated in the past but planned to this year, said he was outraged at the letter McGuire sent along with the latest proposed revisions in the agreement.
The letter "calls me a dictator and I resent that," Sant said. The mayors and city officials are only trying to make the strike force accountable for its activities, Sant said.
The strike force is now governed by an executive board composed of the police chiefs of the participating cities and McGuire.
That's not good enough for the mayors, however, who fear they and their city councils will take the heat from taxpayers if the strike force is sued or involved in a situation that generates bad publicity.
A quarterly or monthly financial statement and operations report isn't adequate, the mayors told McGuire.
"Monthly, quarterly, or even daily reports are not accountability," Centerville Mayor Michael Kjar told McGuire. "It's when you come to me, as mayor, and tell me you did this, or that, and I make the decision to fire you or not.
"That's accountability," Kjar said.
The mayors also expressed concern about the agreement's original proposal that specified seized assets such as cash or vehicles would be used to fund the strike force's ongoing operation.
The strike force could use the funds to add additional officers and grow unchecked by any budget limitation, the mayors fear.
The revised agreement sets a $300,000 ceiling on assets the strike force can keep, with anything over that being paid back to the participating cities based on their contribution formula.
The mayors on Wednesday indicated they still don't find that acceptable.