Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ace Reporter Schwebke Further Peels Back the MOGC Committee Veil of Secrecy

Our intrepid Ace Reporter Schwebke keeps on digging

In a followup to Thurday's Standard-Examiner article, Scott Schwebke continues to peel back the veil of secrecy surrounding Boss Godfrey's Mount Ogden Golf Course Citizens Committee. Our intrepid Ace Reporter has been doing further digging, and offers this morning a new article, laden with a few more morsels of fact:

1) First in order of importance, this morning's Std-Ex story reveals (for the first time publicly) the names of the individuals serving on the committee (We've made a half hearted attempt to augment this list with online information links (highlighted;) and certified Gondolists are marked with a "G"):

Kent Petersen (G)- Chairman
George Heiner (G)
Ron Kasina - Weber County Economic Development Director
Mike Mathieu - Ogden Fire Chief
John Lindquist - (the article doesn't specify whether John Jr. or Sr.)
Kent Nichols
Hoyle Sorenson
Jay Wadman (G)

2) Next in order of importance, Mr. Schwebke reports that another "subcommittee" of eight members has gotten the jump on the main committee and has already put together a list of suggestions to improve MOGC on the relative "cheap" (under $1 million).

3) Mr. Schwebke informs us that Boss Godfrey continues to insist that the "main" committee doesn't operate under his administration's thumb, notwithstanding other facts reported by Mr. Schwebke this morning, i.e., a) that the committee meets in a conference room adjacent to Godfrey's office and b) that all meeting minutes are recorded by Godfrey's own executive assistant.

4) Last but not least, Mr. Schwebke relates that "Main Committee" Chair Kent Petersen has apparently declined to appoint neither Council Member Gochnour nor Jeske to the committee. Kent wants to avoid administration and council "influence," says "The Skipper," with an "honest to Gawd" completely straight face.

That's it for now, folks.

Take it away, O Gentle Ones.

17 comments:

dan s. said...

This was a good, solid article--unlike the one printed a couple days ago. I wonder why they rushed the previous article to print before taking the time to dig up more of the facts?

The one fact still missing is that there was a time when Mt. Ogden Golf Course actually had the needed 60,000 rounds played per year. The administration blames the decline on competition from other courses, but El Monte's use has actually increased over the same time period. Anyone who wants to attract more players to the golf course needs to first understand why the use of one course has declined precipitously while the other has gone up.

Curmudgeon said...

Good article. And more evidence IMHO against continuing claims on WCF that the SE is in Godfrey's pocket. The piece goes into the issue of how the committee was put together, and how it operates, and includes views on those matters from outside the committee and the Mayor's office. Substantive piece.

One puzzling thing: the full committee has eight members. The "citizens' sub-committee" was appointed by Petrerson [who was appointed by Godfrey] and includes two members of the main committee and... we don't know who, except that they're described as "golfers." So I have to wonder again, what is the point of all this secrecy? Why couldn't the main committee have simply been announced once Peterson appointed the members, and ditto for the "citizen sub-committee" he subsequently appointed? What's the point? Why did membersship on the main committee have to be dug out, over weeks, by the SE? Again, the Administration's almost paranoid compulsion to act in secret [and Peterson, as a Godfrey administration candidate for the Council counts, reasonably, as a proxy for the administration in this regard] serves in the end only to undercut its general credibility and to make things more difficult rather than less.

But good story, good work by the SE and Mr. Schwebke on a continuing story.

dan s. said...

Curm,

Not just secrecy--outright deception. Why does Godfrey keep claiming that the committee "operates independently of the city's administration" when he knows he can't conceal the committee's membership, staff support, or meeting place? Does he really think people are dumb enough to believe him?

A Witness said...

Godfrey has insisted that the Committee not be influenced by the administration. Why then did he attend the first meeting, and tell them that he had met with four golf pros who also designed golf courses and what their recommendations were. Another example of Godfrey's deceitful and conniving character!

suspicious as h--- said...

I have never thought of Jay Wadman as being an avid golfer nor even a resident of the Mt. Ogden area. Nor John Lindquist either.

I have known Jay Wadman to be a principal in the Wadman Corporation that received the $3.1 million in historical tax credits from the renovation of the American Can peoperty, said renovated property being transferred to the Ogden Community Foundation in the dubious (suspicious) transaction done in secret that no one will explain.

So what gives here?

google girl said...

Plausible Deniability

"Plausible deniability refers to the denial of blame in loose and informal chains of command where upper rungs quarantine the blame to the lower rungs. In the case that illegal or otherwise disreputable and unpopular activities become public, high-ranking officials may deny any awareness of such act or any connection to the agents used to carry out such act.

suspicious as h--- also said...

If Godfrey put this scheme together you can bet your bottom dollar that it is not on the up and up.

Any bets on what Godfrey's ulterior purpose is supposed to accomplish?????????????

danny said...

Gee, I seem to remember predicting this precisely - that The Skipper would decline to accept Jeske and Gochnour, on the basis of wanting to appear independent.

Criminy the Skipper is a soggy, befuddled, butt-kissing dunce that is so, so predictable.

So tell me know, Gochnour? What you gonna make of this committee's findings, since they've handled you a corn cob and told you what to do with it?

I already know what Jeske thinks, because I know she DOES think, instead of just acting like she does.

danny said...

After thinking about my comment above, let me say:

Gee, I seem to remember predicting this precisely - that The Skipper would decline to accept Jeske and Gochnour, on the basis of wanting to appear independent. (meant it)

Criminy the Skipper is a soggy, befuddled, butt-kissing dunce that is so, so predictable. (meant it)

So tell me know, Gochnour? What you gonna make of this committee's findings, since they've handled you a corn cob and told you what to do with it? (I apologize for this comment.)

I already know what Jeske thinks, because I know she DOES think (meant it), instead of just acting like she does (I apologize for this comment.)

Curmudgeon said...

Well, now, it is possible, I think, that all this high dudgeon is a little premature. The SE article reported that the "citizens sub-committee" is recommending a low-cost [relatively] course renovation, about one million overall, that would not do great violence to the geography of the course or the benchland on which it lies. It has not, the SE reports, recommended carving up the mountainside or selling the land to a developer. I'm a little skeptical about the trail relocation elements of the plan, but I don't know exactly yet what those are.

The Mayor has, of course, in his usual ham-fisted way undercut the credibility of his own committee by the means of its appointment and the attendant secrecy. But from what the SE reports so far, the sub-committee may have come up with a reasonable cost effective recommendation. None of us have seen the details yet, nor do we know what, if anything, the main committee will do with the sub-committee's recommendations. But I think it might be early for all this heart-burning about the report. Might be prudent to wait to see what it actually says first, que no?

danny said...

Made me look up the word "dudgeon."

dan s. said...

Curm,

Just don't forget that both the committee and the subcommittee are restricting their attention (by all accounts) to recommending physical changes to the golf course. Neither seems to be looking into the many management issues that I suspect are the real reason for the decline in use over the years.

george k said...

Dan S.,
You make a great point! The biggest mismanagement of Mt. Ogden is by Godfrey! MOGC operated in the black, even made a profit, until Godfrey decided he wanted to sell it and started his campaign against it. He fired the great golf pro that managed it, cut the budget and put Todd Brenkman in charge of both courses. Brenkmann is no fool and knows where his bread buttered, so he has spent his time, energy and budget on El Monte. The only good thing that has happened to MOGC is Jeff McFarland, who has worked his heart out with a decreasing budget every year. Why should MOGC have the same budget as El Monte when it is an 18-hole golf course covering much more land, is a newer course and still needs constant work to keep the fairways groomed. Since it is a hillside course, it requires more maintenancae, but has not received the manpower or money for equipment to do it. So you're right, Dan S., mismanagement has played a big role in the decline of players at MOGC.

dan s. said...

george,

Godfrey is certainly responsible for any and all management problems at Mt. Ogden Golf Course during the last 8 years. But there must have already been problems before that, because when he took office in 2000, the number of rounds played was already down from its peak of over 60,000 to somewhere in the mid-40,000's, I believe. Since then the use has declined by about another 10,000 rounds/year.

Also, I doubt that Godfrey decided he wanted to sell the course immediately after he took office. If he did, the plot would have been unrelated to the gondola which he initially wanted to put in Taylor Canyon.

Still, Godfrey has now been in office long enough that the responsibility for today's problems falls squarely on his shoulders.

on the inside said...

Kudos to Councilwoman Gochnour! She is finally showing that she has a backbone and won't be intimidated by the biggest little bully in Ogden! Just a word of warning, Ms. Gochnour, Godfrey loves to call women into his office in a one-on-one confrontation to yell at and belittle them. Take a tape recorder with you, if he calls you in. Remember, he can't do anything to you -- you were elected by the people and he isn't your boss!

Keep up the good work!

george k said...

Reporter Schwebke reveals that the Mayor is once again at odds with the Council in his article in the Standard Examiner this morning "Conflict over Mount Ogden course." He did a great job of reporting Councilwoman Gochnour's comments last night at Council Meeting. I found it most interesting to read that Kent Peterson did not receive the word that some of the Council members wanted to serve on his now infamous golf course committee. I wonder if that's what happened to the list of suggested committee members that Councilwoman Jeske gave the administration. I understand that Councilwoman Gochnour's list was given to Todd Brenkman. There's a couple of different scenarios about what happened to that list: 1) Todd gave the list to Godfrey and he didn't give it to Kent or Godfrey told him to conveniently misplace it.
It's most interesting that Kent Peterson said that he doesn't want the committee influenced by the administration nor the council, but he allowed Godfrey to attend the first meeting and give the opening statements! This whole process and the committee are a joke and a mockery of democracy. But then Godfrey's favorite saying is, "We don't live in a democracy, we live in a republic." I'll go one further -- "We live in a republic ruled by dictator!"
The criticism I have of Schwebke's reporting, is that he repeats Godfrey's position on the golf course without really finding the cause for the decline of golfers. There is nothing wrong with the design of the golf course -- that's what makes it unique and a challenge to play. Because of lack of money, personnel and equipment to keep the brush cut back, the fairways have narrowed some. That's a management problem that maintenance problems aren't a priority at Mt. Ogden by Mr. Brenkman.
I am glad to see that Mr. Schwebke reports that the council is having problems dealing with the Mayor's chicanery. On the whole, it was a good article.

pointypoopkickers said...

A most heartfelt and gracious THANK YOU to Mr. Brenkman for all his efforts and extraordinarily hard work (not to mention IRREPLACEABLE LOST FAMILY TIME) in managing two incredible golf courses, while not being granted any extra funds in his budget to do so (through no fault of his own, but rather, due to orders from the King of Ogden with LittleManSyndrome), but instead having his needs overlooked by the powers that be (Kings and pawns....Kings and pawns...). His needs, and many other Ogden Citizen taxpayer rights needs have been dismissed or should we say, robbed peter to pay paul....to make what ever effort possible to fund UNREALISTIC and OVERPRICED and UNWARRANTED AT THIS TIME projects that MIGHT make Mr. King look like he's some superhero for the city!
I am finding it doesn't take much at all to dig up so much dirt in this town....and then to read that you people are BLAMING the very people who, in my digging I have found, are making every effort to preserve and do right! Regardless of any bread or butter issue previously and coldly mentioned.
Mr. Brenkman, I haven't been here long, but I have very much enjoyed playing golf at both El Monte and MoTog and hope they CONTINUE to grow and prosper and CONTINUE to bring in revenue for the City...even if Mr. Godfry chooses to put those funds elsewhere, in lost or hopeless projects, hoping it will somehow "prove" the golf course is a lost cause, so he can sell it out from under Ogden.
What a shame. But thank you for all YOU do, Mr. Brenkman!!
It was a pleasure meeting you in person, by the way.

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