We are glad to learn that West Jordan City Manager Dan Dahlgren has not bugged the office of the mayor, Donna Evans. That impression arose out of an exchange at last week's City Council meeting and was stated as fact on this page this week.
It isn't true. In reality, Dahlgren has bugged his own office, or at least wired it for recording conversations. He said he notifies people in the room before activating the recorder, and has never recorded the mayor, although he decided to install the equipment because he distrusts her.While the difference is noteworthy, it doesn't dampen our concern about the discord affecting the government of one of the state's fastest growing cities. Council meetings frequently degenerate into harsh squabbles, and city residents have a right to wonder what is going on.
The latest twist in that discord involves allegations the city used its workers and equipment to help build a nonprofit shelter for domestic violence victims without proper approval from the City Council.
The city manager says the expenditure was approved by the council as part of this year's budget. The city's best estimate is that about 150 man-hours were used by city employees on the project. Others dispute that figure. Council members disagree on whether they approved it.
Unfortunately, records documenting the actual work done are hard to come by. That is too bad.
Surely, this dispute and others could be resolved amicably and without the kind of incivility that seems to have possessed West Jordan City Hall. Taxpayer funds are indeed important and residents ought to be able to get concrete answers to questions about their use. We repeat our call for the city to hire an outside auditor. To do any less would be to squander the most important asset any city holds - the trust of its people.