After weeks of rumor and amid reports of ongoing internal council strife, first term Councilman Michael DeMass, submitted his resignation Tues-day night.
The resignation, which was unanimously accepted by the council, is effective April 30.No official reason was given for the resignation but DeMass, who did not attend the meeting, said earlier Tuesday he can't continue to serve because he is moving out of his council district.
The surprise resignation also means the council must appoint a replacement to serve out DeMass' four-year term. He was the only newcomer elected to the council on the 1998 municipal ballot.
But his departure remains cloaked in a mystery, given a council action in the closing minutes of the Tuesday night meeting to "release all claims" related to some kind of legal action that apparently involved DeMass, City Recorder Rori Andreason and the council.
In that document, Andreason agreed to release all claims against both the departing councilman and the city. She also agreed to "dismiss with prejudice any and all claims, administrative proceedings or causes of action currently pending against Michael DeMass and the City of West Jordan."
DeMass agreed to release any claims he might have against Andreason and the city, and Mayor Donna Evans discharged any claims against DeMass and Andreason on behalf of the city.
The council also agreed to a settlement that will pay $2,000 to James Morton, the attorney who represented Andreason in the matter, and $1,000 to attorney Duane Smith, who represented DeMass.
Those payments were approved without elaboration of the nature of the claims or the rationale for the city's $3,000 settlement.
When City Manager Dan Dahlgren was asked about the release of claims, he replied "no comment" and referred press inquiries to City Attorney Greg Curtis.
But the city attorney also declined to discuss the matter.
"I cannot comment outside of what was said at the public meeting," added Curtis, suggesting that any questions about the claims or settlement ought to be directed to DeMass and Andreason.
Attempts Wednesday to contact Andreason for comment were un-suc-cess-ful.
DeMass, a land surveyor and owner of DeMass Group, won election in District Four last November with a 140-vote victory over Steven D. Brantley.
He served two years on the West Jordan Planning Commission and was a member of the city's master plan committee.
DeMass has been seen as being allied with Mayor Evans on a number of issues in recent months and, during a council meeting on March 17, he was one of three council members who declined to give the city's administration a blanket "vote of confidence."