A group of more than 20 irate West Jordan residents has launched a petition drive asking for a state legislative audit of the city's financial and management practices.
Drive organizers indicate they have collected hundreds of signatures from local residents to date and intend to amass about 2,000 before they ask two state senators from the area to request a sweeping audit of city affairs.Norm Riggs of Citizens for Integrity in Government (CIG), a group that formerly called itself the SOC (Save Our City) Committee, said the signatures have been relatively easy to gather.
"The response has been very positive," he said. "Of all the people I've contacted, only two didn't sign."
And when people do sign, Riggs added, "they usually start unloading" about their complaints with city government.
The petition calls for "an independent legislative audit of West Jordan City, including but not limited to budget and spending practices, contract bidding and awards, performance bonds, inspection standards and city management for the past five years."
On Tuesday, city officials formed an ad hoc committee and agreed to arrange a meeting with members of the CIG group to discuss their concerns.
The city delegation will include councilmen David Newton and Gordon Haight, City Manager Dan Dahlgren and possibly another city representative.
Newton said Thursday the ad hoc committee was formed after Haight suggested a problem-solving session with the CIG group. The council did not formally appoint the committee, however, because it lacked a quorum.
A meeting was arranged for Monday by the city manager.
Dahlgren said he is "very supportive of the idea" of the meeting "and it's important at this point and time to sit down and see what the concerns of these citizens are."
"Our purpose is to . . . bring things out in the open so we can address them," Newton added. "I'm interested in finding out the truth of these matters, and I'm more interested in solving any problems so they don't happen again."
Meantime, the petition drive is continuing through the weekend.
Riggs said that when the petitioners have enough signatures, they will call State Sen. Mike Waddoups and Sen. Mont Evans to ask for the audit.
The CIG committee is reluctant to ask state representatives in their area for help because three of them are city employees and might have a conflict of interest.
Those lawmakers are Community and Economic Development Director Wayne Harper, City Attorney Greg Curtis and police officer Gary Cox.
Another CIG committee member, Richard Smith, said the petition drive became necessary because city officials fail to respond to problems and then resort to "damage control" when the problems finally boil over.
"There are people who are really upset and feel the City Council has not been responsive to their questions," he said. "I personally think they've run amok."