Brigham City • City Hall was packed in this small northern Utah city as residents hoped to weigh in on whether Mayor Dennis Fife should remain in office or resign.
Earlier this week, the 67-year-old mayor, husband, father and grandfather wrote a letter of confession to constituents, explaining he had had an affair with a woman he once counseled as a Mormon bishop. The indiscretions occurred after his church calling ended, Fife said.
Brigham City native Bill Harrison led the array of public comments for and against Fife.
"I'm here standing in support of Mayor Fife's decision to continue to serve," Harrison said, likening Fife's situation to a pedestrian who had been hit by a car.
"We wouldn't create scandal by wondering what that person was doing in the middle of the road," Harrison said, urging people to make peace rather than to throw stones.
Resident Ben Lloyd also rose in support of Fife, both as a "good man" and a capable leader.
"It breaks my heart that he's made a mistake in his personal life," Lloyd said as his voice broke with emotion, "but we shouldn't throw him under the bus."
Lloyd credited Fife with trying to make things right with his church and his God.
However, Ronnie W. Aldridge, father of terminated Brigham City police officer Ronnie G. Aldridge, blasted Fife for figuratively throwing his son under the bus.
"My son was charged with the same thing you said you did," Aldridge said. "The difference is, my son Ronnie was exonerated by everybody."
Ronnie G. Aldridge, an 11-year veteran of the city's police force, has sued Brigham City in 1st District Court for wrongful termination over texts he exchanged with a female officer in training. The city's human resource coordinator wrote that his behavior demonstrated poor judgment that created disruption and distrust within the police department.
However, the elder Aldridge believes that discord stems from Fife and Police Chief Paul Tittensor.
"You have division, a strong division in that police department of yours," the elder Aldridge told Fife on Thursday night. "You are a disgrace, sir, and so is your chief of police. You should take him, too, when you resign."
In a firm voice, resident Flora Reiter told Fife that he needed to step down.
"You are a great and wonderful man," Reiter said, "but I am concerned that we have people in this city of ours that you were involved in them being released from their positions. And now you have done the same. And you stand there and say you will retain your position."
Fife, unmoved, responded that some of the comments about dismissals were incorrect.
In his confession to residents, Fife said his conscience is clear and he is resolved to continue as the city's part-time mayor.
In a closed door meeting late last week, some council members urged Fife to resign. No action was taken Thursday on the matter.