SOUTH SALT LAKE The mayor called for a city councilman's resignation Thursday because the man told a resident concerned about crime to contact reporters.
Shane Siwik did not resign the mayor and the council do not have power to force him to and an effort to censure him Thursday night failed as well.
Four members of the council tabled the resolution because Siwik did not attend an emergency closed door session to discuss the controversy.
Siwik said his colleagues' minds were made up so his presence was unnecessary.
In a statement released Thursday, Mayor Bob Gray, a former South Salt Lake police chief, said Siwik acted with a personal vendetta against the city and police department because he referred Brian Goldhardt to the media.
Goldhardt's concern with public safety in South Salt Lake first erupted Tuesday when reports of his discontent were published in both major Salt Lake City newspapers and were aired in local television news programs. A major theme of the publicity focused on the idea that residents would be better served if the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office took over police services.
Wednesday, in what was to be a South Salt Lake City Council work session, Goldhardt apologized to the council for going to the media and said his concerns were inflated by reporters. Goldhardt did not return phone calls Thursday.
Following Wednesday's apology, accusations flew concerning Siwik's behavior.
"What I find appalling is the fact that it would appear that you are orchestrating something to seed the media take a citizen and in effect use them for political ends," Councilman John Weaver said.
Siwik was accused by Weaver of opposing the police department because it did not officially endorse him in the last election. The police association in 2007 was neutral on Siwik's race. It did endorse Mike Rutter, who ran against Brian Goldhardt's father, Herbert Goldhardt. Rutter won.
Weaver said complaints about the city should first be raised before the council. The meeting minutes show that Siwik believed Goldhardt had tried to contact all council members before going to the media, though Rutter denied being contacted and Councilman Casey Fitts said he had only been contacted by Goldhardt about a school project.
"I'll admit, John, I can see where things would have been handled better if it wouldn't have gone through the way it did," Siwik said at one point. "I guess I disagree with one key element here, and that is that the citizens are able to do what they want without having to come through us."
On Thursday, Siwik said he regretted advising Goldhardt to go to the media and understood the council's contention that he should have been more forthcoming, but said he did not break the law nor did he act unethically.Another vote on the resolution to censure Siwik will take place Wednesday at the city's next regular council meeting at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 220 East Morris Ave.
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