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A new Utah Transit Authority board member called Monday for the resignation of its chairman and vice chairwoman after months of fighting, including a new Facebook attack on the self-described "reformer."
"My brief experience with UTA is a microcosm of what the fundamental problem is: an overly defensive agency that is self-destructively reactionary to criticism and alternative viewpoints," Brent Taylor wrote to his colleagues on the UTA board on Monday.
Taylor, who is also mayor of North Ogden, called for the resignations from leadership positions by UTA Chairman Robert McKinley and Co-Vice Chairwoman Sherrie Hall Everett.
Taylor called for "election of new leadership that will respect all members and viewpoints on the board and that will foster a climate of healthy debate, and that can lead us away from this drama to focus on what really matters: earning back the public trust."
Everett, a candidate for Provo mayor and a former City Council member there, apologized in an email Monday evening for a Facebook post that slammed Taylor but she did not address his call for her resignation.
"I want to write and express my apologies to trustee Taylor and all the UTA trustees that my frustration allowed me to become more personal than was appropriate," she wrote. "While I stand by many aspects of my statement, upon re-reading, there were statements contained within that were too personal."
McKinley did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Taylor's battles with the board leaders began when they initially refused to seat him after his appointment by the Weber County Council of Governments.
Taylor said it was because he had vowed to reform the scandal-tainted agency and fight high executive salaries. McKinley said it was because the appointment would break nepotism rules because Taylor's father is a FrontRunner train operator. At one point, McKinley wrote Taylor saying if he insisted on serving, his father would be fired.
Taylor disagreed, arguing that the agency's rules did not ban board service if a person had a relative who was already working for UTA but would ban promoting or transferring the worker while the board member served.
State Auditor John Dougall looked into the dispute and said he found that Taylor was right so he was seated and his father was not fired.
Last week, the board adopted a new rule which will not apply to Taylor retroactively that in the future would fire employees who have relatives who accept a board appointment.
Taylor complained that the rule was aimed less at improving ethics than it was intended to make him "feel illegitimate."
Everett then took to Facebook to criticize Taylor and a Salt Lake Tribune story about that policy change.
She wrote in a post, which has since been removed, that "it is truly annoying that someone who has been there such a short time (3-4 months) is touting himself as the ONLY reformer at UTA … and now a VICTIM."
She added that "he's pushing a huge deception of what is actually going on at the agency. It's not fair … and doesn't have the best interest of the taxpayers or those who serve in mind."
She added, "The emporer [sic] has no clothes here. So what's your game? Because those who know me KNOW that I am also a REFORMER. I just believe in doing it with integrity, transparency and respect."
Taylor wrote a lengthy rebuttal in his letter to board members, saying he has never personally attacked the integrity of members.
He said in an interview, "Once it's got to this level of personal attack on the board, you can't be in a leadership position."
He added, "They have literally fought me tooth and nail since I was announced. It's not healthy. It's not what leadership should be doing. Leadership should be welcoming all viewpoints."
Everett's apology email Monday evening said, "None of us are perfect, but I hope there is room for forgiveness when we try to correct a personal action."
She added, "I would hope that we can get back to continuing to improve the organization and I appreciate the significant time and talents of our board. We won't be perfect, but I hope we can be honest and transparent as we work together."