SOUTH SALT LAKE City Council members here were unable Wednesday night to resolve a dispute concerning the behavior of one of their own.
They had agreed to consider a motion censuring Shane Siwik for bringing "dishonor" and "embarrassment" to the City Council and for damaging South Salt Lake's reputation, but were forced to move on after four resolutions on the matter failed to receive sufficient support.
Council members were upset that Siwik had encouraged a resident to talk with reporters about his concerns with public safety in the city. Siwik also talked directly with reporters, telling them the issue was important.
During council meetings last week, Siwik was accused of being a Judas, manipulating the resident for his own gain and fabricating a story about a grass-roots movement to disband the city's police force and to contract with the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office for law enforcement services.
City residents at Wednesday's meeting spoke both in favor of and against Siwik and in favor of and in opposition to the police department, but all agreed on one thing: It's time to move on, they said.
"Act like grown-ups and be what we elected you to be," said Douglas Jensen, who supports the city police but feels the controversy is shameful.
Mayor Bob Gray, who last week asked Siwik to resign over the issue, also asked the council to move on. "I, for one, am through with talking about it," he said.
Following the comments of about 15 citizens, the council discussed the issue. Siwik and Councilman John Weaver dominated the conversation, with Siwik focusing on his First Amendment right to free speech and Weaver focusing on Siwik's lack of "fidelity."
"I want to acknowledge and let everybody know that there should have been more communication, more visibility on my part," Siwik said. "(The council) was blindsided because they didn't know I was willing to support it."
Weaver went on to talk of the appreciation for freedom he gained while living under an oppressive Haitian government and said he would be willing to step down if the rest of the council wanted him to.
Councilman Mike Rutter also jumped in, saying Siwik has a history of trying to go around the council when he disagrees with it.
"You seem to be subverting, trying to go around the council, not within the council guidelines," he said to Siwik. "We are elected to do the business of this city collectively."
The conversation was twice interrupted by boos from the crowd and twice more interrupted by angry men walking out in frustration before the council chairman called the meeting to order and asked the council to discuss the next item on the agenda."I hope that we can get past this and move on and unite our city," said Councilwoman Marilyn Brusch.
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