A 2nd District Court judge Monday asked for more detailed legal arguments on three of nine complaints filed in September against three Davis County elected officials.
Judge Douglas L Cornaby asked attorneys for both sides to submit written legal briefs outlining the issues in three areas: the use of interest earned on hospital bond money to buy land for the county's animal shelter and fairgrounds; the awarding of a $180,000 construction-management contract for the new county jail; and whether deputy county attorneys are public officials or merit employees.A Dec. 7 hearing date was canceled and a new court date to present the briefs and oral arguments was scheduled for Dec. 20.
The complaint against the three officials was filed in early September, signed by eight county residents and seeks their removal under a 1953 state statute. Named in the complaint are commissioners Harold Tippetts and William Peters and former commissioner and current interim clerk Glen Saunders.
The investigation was turned over to Weber County Attorney Reed Richards, who in turn assigned it to his chief deputy, William Daines.
On two of the nine complaints, Daines said, interpretation of Utah statutes is the primary complaint. On a third allegation, the mileage abuse, prosecution under the statute the complaint was filed under would depend on whether deputy county attorneys are public officials, subject to that statute, or merit employees and exempt from it.
Daines said when the county commissioners used $600,000 in interest money generated by the investment of hospital bond money to buy 50 acres of land to build a county fairgrounds, they did it after asking for a legal opinion from their county attorney's office and the bond attorneys.
And, when the county awarded a $180,000 construction-management contract to Joe Rhoades, a Farmington resident and Planning Commission member, it was also done after obtaining the advice of Deputy County Attorney Jerry Hess.
The judge also asked for briefs on County Attorney Mel Wilson's request for reimbursement of legal fees for the three officials.
In his point-by-point presentation, Daines said an investigation of the nine charges against the officials shows some are groundless or there was no intention of wrongdoing on the part of those named.