A group of Alpine residents wants the Utah Supreme Court to decide whether they have the right to pursue an election on the mayor's firing of the city's police chief.
The five residents filed a writ of mandamus with the court Thursday, according to Marilyn Anderson. Other residents listed on the document are Anderson's husband, John; Ray Garrett; and James and Marlene Holley.Anderson has been trying to get Brent Leseberg's termination put to a vote since the end of November and remains undaunted by Leseberg's statement this week that he'll sue the city for breach of contract if he is not reinstated or paid $1.5 million within 30 days. Leseberg believes Alpine violated an agreement it negotiated with him on Nov. 27.
"The only reason Brent is doing the lawsuit, if it comes to that, is we don't have representation on the City Council," Anderson said. "The reason it (the potential suit) is happening is she (Alpine Mayor Elaine Barnes) won't listen to us and give him his job back."
Anderson said she and some other residents believe that if Alpine won't give Leseberg back his job he deserves the $1.5 million.
The document filed with the Supreme Court recounts the termination of former Police Chief Brent Leseberg on Oct. 31 as well as events that took place during two City Council meetings in November. During those meetings, some residents protested Leseberg's termination and asked Barnes to explain in greater detail why.
The document also says residents filed a request with the city on Nov. 30 to pursue an initiative petition to allow residents to vote on Leseberg's termination. City Attorney Ray Harding Jr. told Barnes that Leseberg's firing was administrative in nature and not subject to appeal via referendum or petition.
He advised the city to not take any action on the residents' request.
So far the group of residents has collected about 150 signatures, Anderson said. About 50 more are needed to comply with Utah law, which says 10 percent of registered voters must sign to place a matter before voters.
However, Barnes said, she has received many calls from residents supportive of her action regarding Leseberg.