Carbon County Attorney Nick J. Sampinos was named Price city attorney on Thursday during a meeting of the Price City Council. Sampinos was one of eight candidates for the city attorney's job.
Sampinos said Friday he was in the process of submitting his resignation to Carbon County. He said the resignation would become effective Jan. 31. Sampinos was in the second year of his first term as county attorney. Previously he served three years as deputy county attorney.Although the new job represents a change of pace, Sampinos said it will allow him to pursue his private practice a little more aggressively - which appealed to him.
Sampinos said Carbon County commissioners are required by law to advertise the vacancy for the next four weeks. At the end of that period, they can appoint a qualified Carbon County resident. If they choose, however, they can extend the period and appoint a qualified attorney from outside the county.
Despite his leaving, Sampinos said, pending litigation involving Carbon County Sheriff Barry Bryner will not be affected because other attorneys are handling the case.
A hearing for Bryner in a decertification action initiated by Utah State Peace Officers Standards and Training is scheduled to start Feb. 6. The action was started by POST following an investigation last March.
The hearing will be before Administrative Law Judge Keith Story and is expected to last seven days. Representing POST will be William L. Flink, certification supervisor for Utah. Bryner will be represented by Salt Lake defense attorney Ron Yengich.
Four separate lawsuits filed in U.S. District Court against Carbon County and the Carbon County sheriff, on behalf of three former and one current employee of the sheriff's department, are also proceeding.
Fred Wasilewski, attorney for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees - the union which filed the suits - said depositions are being taken. He said trial dates will be set later.
The suits, which ask for damages in excess of $6 million, allege Bryner violated the plaintiff's constitutional rights during their employment.
Defending the county and sheriff in these suits will be Lynn Lund, representing the Utah Local Government Trust. The trust is the insurance carrier for the county.
Both the Price City and Helper City attorney positions became vacant when Bryce K. Bryner was named Seventh Circuit Court judge. Bryner was the attorney for both municipalities. Bryner succeeded Seventh District Court Judge A. John Ruggeri, who retired at the end of the year.
Named to fill the Helper city attorney vacancy at the Helper City Council meeting, also held Thursday, was Gene Strate. Strate has practiced law in the Price area for several years.