This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
A policy pirouette by the Draper City Council recently has some questioning what it was doing in the first place proposing to ease the municipality's anti-nepotism law.
On Tuesday, the council rejected by a 5-0 vote a plan to allow the city to hire family members of elected and appointed officials.
Discussion during a previous council meeting seemed to show support from at least three of the council members, but that changed dramatically by the time the issue came up for formal debate and a vote.
During a public comment period at the council meeting, resident Todd Arbon chastised City Council members. "We elected you, but we didn't elect your kids to work for the city also," he said.
Council members had begun kicking around the notion of lifting the anti-nepotism ordinance in response to the city's struggle to fill part-time and seasonal jobs.
Arbon suggested advertising in the city's monthly brochure and working with the local high school to recruit seasonal help rather than turning to city leaders' families.
Resident Mary Squire also spoke out, saying that in the public eye, the proposal to change the nepotism law smacked of "stereotypical corrupt politicians … [who prioritize] what can they do to benefit themselves or people they know or love or like.
"Maybe before these things are proposed, we could think a little more about that so that we don't have to suffer the embarrassment that our city I think has suffered," she said.
Councilwoman Michele Weeks said she originally proposed to discuss the ordinance at the request of Councilman Alan Summerhays. The two hoped to help solve the city's labor-shortage problem.
She was never consulted about the wording of the request, she said, and she didn't agree with it. When she asked that Mayor Troy Walker take it off the agenda, she said he refused.
"My name's been kind of stomped through the mud, and I was never in support of it," Weeks said.
But Walker defended his actions in leaving the proposal on the agenda. Had he withdrawn it, he said, it would have appeared as though the city was trying to "pull a fast one on the public," especially when he knew members of the public planned on speaking about it.
He said Weeks and Summerhays had earlier been adamant about the request. "I didn't see any good reason whatsoever to remove it from the agenda," Walker said. But even before the public comment portion of the meeting, council members, including Weeks and Summerhays, renounced the proposal. Walker said he strongly opposed the ordinance as well. "It creates way more problems than it could ever solve," he said.