In response to Fraternal Order of Police claims of cronyism and double standards applied at the state Department of Corrections, Gov. Gary Herbert will establish a new ombudsman position in the Department of Human Resource Management to handle employee complaints about management.
Matters then will be handled confidentially and independent of an employee's respective department.
Ally Isom, Herbert's spokeswoman, said the decision was made after discussions the governor's office had with FOP leadership. She said the ombudsman will be there for employees in all state departments, not just corrections.
Isom said the ombudsman will be an additional step to the appeals process already available to employees, and the fact that it is independent of the other state departments should give workers confidence their grievances will be investigated without fear of interference from departmental management.
FOP had called for a no-confidence vote of Tom Patterson, executive director of corrections, although the results of that vote, or even the number of corrections employees who voted at all have not been released.
A legislative audit six years ago found cronyism and favoritism in the Corrections Department, and that led to the replacement of then-Executive Director Scott Carver.
Papers please • Attorney and restaurant owner Daniel Darger's driver license expired recently after three failed attempts on his part to renew it at a Driver License Division office.
The last straw: Because he owns his own business, he files his taxes using the K-1 form for employers. But the division, in all of its bureaucratic beauty, requires a W-2 or 1099 tax form as part of the apparatus needed to prove identity. He does not have a W-2 form or 1099. And the K-1 form? That's not listed as one of the requirements, so the bureaucrats don't know how to deal with it.
On the first trip to the driver license office, Darger brought his birth certificate and passport. Not good enough. He was told he either had to include a Social Security card, which he didn't have, or a tax form containing his Social Security number.
"Since I have no intention of complying with this BS demand, I suppose I cannot renew by license," Darger told me.
He did get a temporary paper license to get him by until November and give him time to get the necessary identification if he chooses to do so.
Guilty pleasures • The Utah Legislature has made happy hour a time traditionally set aside at bars and clubs for patrons to get their alcoholic drinks at a discount illegal.
Lawmakers have said happy-hour discounted drinks encourage more consumption and, therefore, more social problems. So it was a little ironic when Utah legislators and other public officials attending Thursday's alcohol-policy symposium in Provo were invited to a "happy hour" shortly before the conclusion of the conference, which was sponsored by the Utah County Department of Drug and Alcohol Prevention and Treatment.
They were served ice cream.
Eagle Forum alert • Better get your pitchforks out and head to the state Capitol for a confrontation. Herbert has been appointed to the Education and Workforce Committee of the National Governors Association.
That means our governor will be looking at issues involving education in a forum that has the word "national" in it.
All Utah County children could be at risk.
And to make matters worse, he was appointed by the chairman of the NGA, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, a Democrat.