A write-in candidate who lost his bid for the Juab County Sheriff's job said a deputy sheriff should be dismissed because he campaigned for candidates while in uniform and on duty.
R.C. (Robert) Smith, a Republican and a supporter of Juab County Commissioner Richard Brough, was defeated in the primary election for commissioner and in the November election for sheriff as a write-in candidate.Smith, a maintainer for Union Pacific Railroad stationed in the Eureka area, expressed his concerns to the County Commission last week .
Before the election, Deputy Glen Wilde was sent to Juab's West Desert where he campaigned, Smith said. Smith said Wilde also took his wife along with him and while there he talked to residents of the area about the upcoming elections and about candidates.
Deputies patrol the remote area of Juab County where the communities of Callao, Fish Springs and Partoun are located as part of their duties.
County Attorney Don Eyre Jr. told Smith he was aware of the incident. He said Wilde had been reprimanded and the incident had been recorded in his permanent personnel file.
"I reviewed the matter," said Eyre. "The sheriff reviewed the matter."
Wilde did discuss politics on the trip. However, what happened was not much different than what many county employees do, said Eyre.
Eyre also confirmed that Wilde's wife did ride along with the deputy. Wilde had been given previous permission by the sheriff to take her because of the remoteness of the area and because the officer scheduled to accompany Wilde was unable to go, Eyre said.
While Smith maintained that Wilde's discussion of politics deserved to be prosecuted as a Class A misdemeanor under state statute, Eyre said that Wilde's actions were not covered by the statute, which only apply state officials and employees.
"He (Wilde) is a county employee," said Eyre.
Eyre said Wilde's actions did not have any impact on the outcome of the election.
At the commission meeting, Smith told commissioners they should reprimand Eyre because he believes he isn't doing his job.
This is not the first time there had been friction between Smith, Wilde and Eyre.
A group of residents from Eureka, including Smith, met with commissioners last year and called for Wilde's dismissal. The complaints prompted investigations by the County Commission and state officials.
Smith also campaigned against Eyre before November's election.
Smith reminded Commissioner Jim Garrett that Garrett had said if Wilde was involved in an incident after the first complaints Garrett would support his dismissal.
Garrett, however, said he had indicated that if Wilde were "charged with a crime and convicted" he would support dismissal.
Eyre has stated Wilde cannot be dismissed without proof of criminal action and has been exonerated in Police Officers and Standards Training and Utah Highway Patrol investigation of earlier allegations against him.
Previously, commissioners initiated an investigation of Wilde and incidents in Eureka completed by Rhead Richards, a private investigator, but have not released the investigation report. Commissioner Richard Brough called for its release.
However, Eyre and the two other commissioners think the information contained in the report cannot be released to the public.