"Cowboy Ted" Hallisey

Kane County tourism director "Cowboy Ted" Hallisey still has a job, but he's not sure for how long.

"I think they're just trying to delay this thing and make me resign," Hallisey said after briefly attending a third executive session with his bosses, an all-Republican county commission. "They're trying to build a case of insubordination against me. They're wanting to continue on this witch hunt."

Hallisey left a Thursday night executive session with the commissioners after they denied his request to open the meeting to the public and reporters.

"I told them that I would not respond to any questions without my attorney present and then I left," Hallisey said. "I made it clear to them that I won't quit."

Hallisey has also made it clear that he believes the commissioners are targeting his job because he filed to run as the Democratic candidate challenging Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab.

Commissioners insist that's not true, and Noel, also a Republican, said he is looking forward to a "straight up" race with Hallisey on the issues facing Utah and his district.

"Ted's assertion that the county commission is targeting him because he is running against me, if true, has no support from me or my campaign," Noel wrote in an e-mail to the Deseret News.

"I have worked with Ted in the past on several issues and have not had any problems with him," Noel wrote. "I hope that he is able to keep his job and run a campaign based on the issues at hand rather than get side-tracked on something that does not involve me."

Hallisey was placed on paid administrative leave last week after refusing to attend a meeting with the commissioners to discuss his employment status. At the time, Hallisey said his attorney counseled him not to attend since commissioners were not willing to share information they were using against him or allow his attorney to be there.

Kane County Commissioner Duke Cox said that statement simply isn't true.

"His attorney has been invited and welcome to come to every meeting since May 19," said Cox. "But we are not going to continue or adjourn these scheduled executive sessions simply because his attorney is out of town."

Cox also said it would be inappropriate to open an executive session when the discussion surrounds personnel matters.

"These meetings have been executive sessions in nature simply to afford Ted the opportunity to answer questions in private," Cox said.

A fourth executive session is planned for June 23. Until then, Hallisey continues on paid administrative leave and is not allowed to conduct any county business.

"Hopefully, at some point, this harassment will stop," Hallisey said. "I'm not being afforded due process under the Constitution, and there's nothing in my personnel file to warrant this."

Hallisey said his record as the county's tourism director is marked by an upswing in visitors and revenue.

Kane County Commissioner Mark Habbeshaw said Hallisey's job is under the microscope because of a pattern of behavior that needs to be corrected.


E-mail: nperkins@desnews.com