The former and current mayors of this northern Utah town who also represent competing banks are accusing each other of unfair dealing in the shifting of $250,000 in city funds from one bank to the other.
Former Mayor Michael Garrett, president of Centennial Bank in Ogden, views Mayor Bob Thurgood's decision to put the money in Barnes Bank, where he serves as a member of the board of directors, as bad business and possibly a conflict of interest.Thurgood calls such claims "a bunch of crap."
Garrett said the city had committed to keeping the certificate of deposit accounts in his bank for a two-year period.
Thurgood said that commitment was a result of a miscommunication between himself and City Treasurer Jana Schofield and has been rectified.
Garrett said in April his bank was notified by city officials that $250,000 in city funds were on their way. When the funds didn't arrive, he called the city to find Thurgood had deposited the money into Barnes Bank, which had matched Centennial's offer.
When Garrett started calling other city leaders about the shift, Thurgood, under the recommendation of City Administrator Mike Moyes and City Attorney Michael Houtz, withdrew the funds from Barnes Bank and put them back in a state account until written quotes can be resubmitted.
The state account pays only 3 percent interest while the two banks offered to pay approximately 5 percent.
"I do not believe Mayor Thurgood had anything to gain in that decision," Moyes said of the funds being deposited in Barnes Bank.
Moyes said the city's checking account is already with Barnes Bank, a decision made years ago when Garrett was mayor.
Still, Garrett said the situation is no way for the city to handle business.
"I think there is a better way to do business than making people mad," said Garrett, who resigned as Syracuse mayor in 1997 to move closer to his bank.
Thurgood said Garrett is welcome to submit a written bid in trying to gain the accounts, although he admits the former mayor taking the dispute public bothers him.
"He is doing a lot of whining about it but never talked to me once," Thurgood said. "If someone has a gripe with me, I want them to tell me."