Salt Lake City remains the only entity without representation on the tri-government Salt Palace Advisory Board after the city council rejected on a close vote three appointments to the board Tuesday.
Salt Lake County and the state of Utah have already approved three appointees each to the board, which will oversee policy for five county art and recreation facilities.But following a 4-3 vote pitting the "Gang of Four" coalition against the three remaining council members, the city's three appointments were rejected, prohibiting the Salt Palace board from convening.
Another council session isn't scheduled until Sept. 6, prompting Mike Zuhl, Mayor Palmer DePaulis' chief of staff, to call the vote a "defeat for the citizens of Salt Lake."
DePaulis is vacationing with his family and did not attend the council meeting.
The council voted down businessman John T. Dunlop, attorney Anthony L. Rampton and arts advocate Marcia Poulson Price, all appointed by DePaulis and first considered at last Tuesday's meeting.
At that meeting, Councilman W.M. "Willie" Stoler moved to stall two appointments and won support from council members Florence Bittner, L. Wayne Horrocks and Alan Hardman.
Stoler repeated his reasons for opposing the appointments Tuesday night, saying he "believe(s) the three individuals are very well qualified." But the appointments don't reflect a council policy calling for "broad geographic representation," he said.
In February, the council adopted a policy that board appointments represent a broad geographic representation of appointees from the city's seven council districts.
All three appointments for the board - which will oversee policy at the Salt Palace, Art Center, Symphony Hall and Capitol Theater - are from Councilwoman Sydney Fonnesbeck's Avenues district, District 3.
Bittner aligned herself behind Stoler, telling the council "it is absolutely essential that every part of the city have representation," not just the rich from the east side of the city.
But Council Chairman Tom Godfrey noted the council already abridged the policy when it appointed a two-term Airport Authority Board member to a third term contrary to their policy of limiting terms to two.
Additionally, Godfrey said that when the city adopted a council form of government it decided appointments to some city boards should be "based solely on capability and integrity without regard to political or geographical affiliation."
Zuhl said he was unsure how the mayor would react to the council rejecting his appointments, but said DePau-lis' options include re-submitting the three names or selecting new appointments.
Meanwhile, "it will be at least one more month before that new board can function because the city has not made their appointments," he said. The board can't convene until all appointments are made.
But Stoler downplayed the impact of the void on the board, saying "another week or two after the Salt Palace has been there for 25 years isn't going to make much difference."
Stoler told the Deseret News he had appointments to suggest to the mayor and Horrocks has already recommended names to DePaulis. The positions could be filled by Sept. 6 if the mayor considers his suggestions, Stoler said.