Sunday, August 17, 2008

More Sunday Morning Whining From Boss Godfrey

A short essay on a few things our Ogden City Mayor fails to "get"

Can we see by a show of hands how many of our readers nearly lost their breakfast after opening up this morning's Standard-Examiner hard-copy edition? There was Boss Godfrey's grinning mug right their on the front page, whining and complaining about the Ogden City Council yet again. We'll incorporate a few text passages from this morning's Ace Reporter Schwebke story:
OGDEN — The city council’s periodic use of a private law firm to render opinions on municipal issues is adversely impacting its relationship with the administration, says Mayor Matthew Godfrey.
Godfrey said he’s troubled by the “secretive nature” of the Salt Lake City firm of Chapman and Cutler, which has been retained by the city council.
He also complained the administration is kept in the dark regarding the law firm’s work on the council’s behalf.
Memo to Boss Godfrey: Chapman & Cutler are the council's lawyers. The "secretive" part involves attorney-client confidentiality. Ask your lawyer, Gary Williams, to explain it.

And then there's the issue of conflict of interest... you know... those occasions where Boss Godfrey's lawyer (Gary Williams) can't ethically represent both the Administration and the Council. Council Director Bill Cook obviously "gets it":
Bill Cook, the city council’s executive director, defended keeping Chapman and Cutler on retainer. The city council uses the law firm sparingly when it believes the municipality’s legal staff has a conflict of interest because it’s already advising the administration on a particular issue or when it wants a second opinion, Cook said.
“The city’s legal staff does a great job,” said Cook. “It (the use of Chapman and Cutler) is only done if it’s better that an outside attorney is involved.”
City Attorney Gary Williams "gets it" too:
Gary Williams, the city’s attorney, said his responsibility is to impartially advise the administration and city council on legal issues.
There are times (conflict of interest situations) when it may be appropriate for the council to seek outside legal advice, said Williams, declining to explain when that could occur. [parenthesis added]
Query: How come Godfrey can't "get it?" Learning-disabled, we guess.

And one more crucial question: How come Boss Godfrey tattles to the Standard-Examiner any time he doesn't get exactly what he wants?

Even a cold heart like Godfrey needs an occasional warm shoulder to cry on, we suppose.

And here are a few other Schwebke passages we also really liked:
Several council members expressed displeasure during a recent work session that they learned after the fact that Rob Jolley, the city’s lobbyist, and Ogden Management Services Director Mark Johnson succeeded in amending Senate Bill 294.
The amendment gives Godfrey complete executive control over the RDA.
“It’s a big issue for me,” City Councilwoman Caitlin K. Gochnour told Godfrey during the council work session, expressing disappointment that she didn’t know about the amendment in advance. “It’s a big issue for Ogden.”
A Weber County Forum Tip O' the Hat to Councilwoman Gochnour for sticking to her guns, and refusing to pick up the tab for Mr. Jolley, Boss Godfrey's ethically-challenged legislative lobbyist. Caitlin's another grownup who obviously "gets it."

And before closing, we'll briefly comment on the $20,000 retainer the council is currently negotiating with current private counsel, Chapman and Cutler. Here's our advice to the council: Jump on it. Judging from the council's excellent performance since they hooked up two years ago with their own private attorneys, we believe these Big City lawyers are worth every dime they get.

The floor is open to our readers' ever-gentle comments.

26 comments:

plain delighted said...

Three cheers for Councilwoman Gochnour for finally letting us know whose side she is on in the ongoing tit for tat between the City Council and Matthew Godfrey.

I was about to write her off as a lost cause.

gimme a break said...

Godfrey will never "git it".

It is perfectly okay from his perspective to skulk around and do everything in secret or not fully disclosed but everyone else is supposed to tell him what they have going on.

The problem is that he doesn't "git it" when he is told.

Jeff B. said...

It is a good thing that Bill Cook finally "got it".

He had not been giving the right advice to the Council members to stand up for their rightful perogatives.

Better late than never.

Viktor said...

The article says that the last time the council used the outside lawyers was in March 2007. If that is correct then it means it has been 18 months since anything has happened on this subject. The question then seems to be - what is the lyin little bastard up to now, making a public issue out of very old stuff? Ya just gotta know the sneaky punk is up to something nefarious.

It is also a real hoot for the biggest lying phony in Utah political history to publicly blame the council for the very sneaky stuff he has been doing since the day he took office. This is a common behavior pattern for sociopaths - blame the victim for your own actions.

The guy is a real twisted little dude, that's for sure!

Curmudgeon said...

Several things caught my eye in the article:

1. The Mayor apparently thinks it's inappropriate for the Council to seek outside legal advice. But the City Attorney doesn't, and he told that to the SE. Interesting that Hizzonah seems to have lost sufficient status that the City Attorney was willing to go on the record to the press contradicting him straight out of the gate.

2. The Mayor is still peddling his ridiculous excuse for not informing the Council that the city lobbyist was working to remove the Council's ability to fire the Mayor as head of the RDA. Not enough time, Hizzonah says. From which we can only conclude that his staff, having famously misplaced 275 public parking spaces not too long ago, has now misplaced the Mayor's phones. What other reason could there be for Hizzonah not having made a phone call to the Council staff offices [in the same building as the Mayor's office, I seem to recall]? If he keeps trying to peddle patently ridiculous explanations for his actions, no wonder the city staff is willing to contradict him to the press now.

3. The SE story did not mention that, because of earlier incidents in which Hizzonah did not bother to inform the Council of what the city's lobbyist was working on, the Mayor and Council negotiated an agreement that the lobbyist would work only on matters both decided he should work on. Which agreement Hizzonah broke regarding the bill to make him immune from Council removal as RDA head.

4. The Mayor's complaining about the Council being secretive is a hoot and a half. Though the SE story didn't mention it by way of background, we need to keep in mind that it was the Mayor's staff that was sending emails about how important it was to keep the Council from knowing what the Administration was doing regarding spending of a UTA grant.

And the beat goes on....

danny said...

My Junior Sunday School teacher always told me that a problem with being dishonest is that people never know when to trust you. Godfrey, perhaps, never was given that lesson.

He knows full well that the Ogden City Council must seek outside council only because of the number of times the Ogden mayor has betrayed their trust.

Another day of old news from the local paper.

A more interesting issue is why, after all these months, has the city council not adopted Dorrene Jeske's ordinance to require council approval for land sales, or at least more control than they have now?

Give Godfrey credit for this much: When he sets to do something, he pursues it energetically. Sadly, the same is often not true of the council, even on such a HUGE issue as land sales.

dan s. said...

Danny,

The council's outside attorney basically told them they can't have any direct control over land sales. So they took the indirect approach of protecting the park through the Mt. Ogden Community Plan.

the lovely jennifer said...

Rudi - I, for one, actually snorted milk out my nose on reading this one.

it's the old "do as I say, not as I do" in action

Hizzonah "can dish it out, but can't take it."

the old playground bully who will knock someone on the ground and run - then cry "mommy mommy!!" when someone gets close enough to grab his nose and pinch it.

I also like the editorial about people getting help (other-where in Utah) painting and beautifying, and old ladies in Ogden getting tickets for making a choice between a flooded basement or a green lawn. Been to the train station lately? Only last week did they trim the weeds they have been watering all sumemr.

The ever lovely Jennifer

lionel said...

the mayor has been secretive, manipulative and extremely dishonest with the council for the entire 8 years he has been in office. This is just one more in a long line of disingenuous moves on his part to steam roll any dissent to his insane and dangerous fiscal policies wherein he gives away the tax payers money to his insider pals for very little in return. The boy and his administration are most likely the least competent and most dishonest cabal that has ever had power in Utah's history. If you follow the state legislature you will know that is a mighty big claim!

There apparently has been no recent activity wherein the council sought outside advice. The Standard Examiner report on this indicated that it was seventeen months ago that the council hired outside lawyers to advice them on some sneaky biz the mayor was trying to slip by them. If that is the case then it seems mighty strange that the little liar would be bringing it up at this time. He most likely is up to something dishonest. It is his MO after all.

In the KSL story on this fiasco a commenter said Godfrey won in a landslide and therefore should be followed blindly (my words). This person is obviously extremely ill informed and/or rather stupid and dishonest like the mayor. Godfrey did not win by a landslide. In fact he just barely squeaked through with a very narrow majority, I think it was less than one percent. This was against an opponent who was very weak and ran an incompetent campaign. It was an embarrassingly close election for an 8 year incumbent and was only won after he publicly renounced his very unpopular but long held gondola dream, and only after he played some very dirty last minute Nixonian campaign tricks. The dishonest little twit is not that popular in Ogden and certainly would not still be mayor if there had been any significant competition in the last two elections.

He is up to something sleazy, I advise the council to be very careful and keep their snake bite remedy very handy, I think they are going to need it - once again.

Oh wow man. said...

Godfrey is the biggest hypocrite that I have ever seen. Even in his little punie body.

OgdenLover said...

Could this be the sneaky deal the Mayor is planning?
From Tuesday's CC agenda:
"Contracts for Legislative Purposes. Proposed Ordinance 2008-39 amending Sections 4-2A-3 and 4-2B-8
to allow the Executive Director of the City Council to execute contracts on behalf of Ogden City.
"

Curmudgeon said...

Lionel:

You wrote: Godfrey... just barely squeaked through with a very narrow majority, I think it was less than one percent. This was against an opponent who was very weak and ran an incompetent campaign.

Permit me to suggest that a first-time candidate running against a two-term incumbent mayor with a large campaign warchest available to him, and coming within about 400 votes as I recall of unseating the incumbent Mayor is pretty strong evidence that the challenger did not run an "incompetent" campaign.

Bill C. said...

I sense this no real news, or let's say 18 month delayed news is a good indicator that lying little matty has all ready done some dirty deed. This is his attempt to get ahead of the fallout and blame the Council for whatever transgression he has committed.
Could be the attack on WSU by his idiot lackies was more diversionary. Did anyonyone but potato nose give it any credence?

Wants integrity in the mayor said...

I have a theory about why Godfrey is bringing up accusations now about the Council using outside legal help – he hopes to sidetrack the Council from pursuing a land-use ordinance and seeking outside legal advice about how his sneaky RDA power-grab will affect their RDA role. I believe that the real reason for his RDA power grab is so that he can sell the Mt. Ogden Golf Course to Chris Peterson in spite of his promise to not sell it. He is trying to get the public to say that it’s all right to sell it because according to him it costs the City $300,000. a year and will cost $6 million to make it a playable and profitable golf course (he doesn’t mention that the City subsidizes the airport $2 to $3 million a year and the Solomon Center for $1.5 million this past year.) We are aware of how he lies so hopefully are others and he won’t get the public approval he wants.

on the inside said...

Rudi, you ask “And one more crucial question: How come Boss Godfrey tattles to the Standard-Examiner any time he doesn't get exactly what he wants?” At the joint work meeting that reporter Scott Schwebke is reporting, Godfrey told the Council that he did not appreciate the Council going to the Salt Lake Tribune with a press release in response to one of his sneaky underhanded ploys. He wanted to know why they didn’t go to him first so that they could work their misunderstandings out! Have you ever heard of such audacity?! Is he stupid or does he think the Council is? It’s unbelievable that he would think that the Council would trust him after all the sneaky, underhanded stunts he’s pulled on them.

Curmudgeon, you stated, “The Mayor's complaining about the Council being secretive is a hoot and a half. Though the SE story didn't mention it by way of background, we need to keep in mind that it was the Mayor's staff that was sending emails about how important it was to keep the Council from knowing what the Administration was doing regarding spending of a UTA grant.” During the joint work meeting (Aug. 14th), Councilwoman Jeske reminded Godfrey of that incident when he said that they should try to work together, and he couldn’t remember going behind the Council’s back and signing a contract with UTA to use that $231,000. for a gondola corridor study. What a lying, deceiving snake!

Curmudgeon said...

On The Inside:

Thanks for reporting Councilwoman Jeske's comment to the Mayor. I wasn't at the work session and so was not aware of it.

Good on Jeske. I suppose he'd very much like to forget the emails that became public [first here on WCF as I recall, and then in the SE] which detailed his staff's attempts to keep the Council from finding out what the administration was up to. In his shoes, I'd want to forget that... and have everyone else forget that... too.

Thanks again, OTI.

ozboy said...

Mr. Curmudgeon

In reference to your reply to "Lionel".

Are you suggesting that VanHoser actually ran a great campaign? You seem to be ascribing the close race to her brilliant performance in that campaign! If that is so, you must be forgetting to take your Ginkgo biloba these days!

In my opinion she ran the poorest campaign in recent memory. Instead of going after Godfrey with all his weaknesses and drawbacks she gave him a complete pass. She never focused on his huge integrity problem. She never pointed out the many lies and manipulation he has delivered that has cost the tax payers of Ogden soooooo many millions. She never went after his arrogance and disdain for any and all who are not in his inner clique. She never laid out any plans or details on what she would do with the economic disaster she would inherit if she won.

Instead she relied almost entirely on a bunch of lame cliches like:

"SOUL" Sensible, Open, Unified, Leadership" and the very unimaginative "Imagine......." theme.

The only people she apparently listened to were a couple of has been politico's, one of whom's main political savvy came from a "successful" run at office wherein there was no opponent!

Godfrey out campaigned and out smarted her at every turn, yet she still almost won! I believe his victory came because she never gave the voters a clear alternative and reason to vote for her. Her lameness and poor campaign tactics just simply did not instill confidence in the voters, so many of them just held their noses and voted for Godfrey.

I think the distrust and disdain for Godfrey runs very deep in Ogden and most any competent person with a well run campaign could have kicked the punk's ass last November. Hell, I even think that Wicks' late great rabbit could have beat the jerk with a half way smart campaign. The rabbit certainly would have made a more competent and honest mayor!!

Curmudgeon said...

Ozboy:

You wrote: Are you suggesting that VanHoser actually ran a great campaign? You seem to be ascribing the close race to her brilliant performance in that campaign!

First, let's get our terms straight. The charge was she ran an incompetent campaign. I said the evidence clearly is that she did not. I did not say it was a brilliant campaign. There is a very large span between "incompetent" and "brilliant," Oz.

Now, quibbles about terms aside. I don't know what your experience is in campaigns. But in mine, an all-but-complete unknown who had never run a race before, who had no organization just weeks before she announced, and very little money, taking on a very well-funded, experienced two-term incumbent with an experienced campaign team behind him, and forcing him to abandon in a very public way one of his favorite projects mid-campaign --- sale of Mt. Ogden Park to finance his gondola obsession --- in order to save his election, and then coming within several hundred votes of picking him off anyway, is on its face evidence of her not having run an incompetent campaign.

Brilliant? No. Substantially more than just minimally competent? Oh, yes. Incompetent? Absolutely not. Mistake free campaign? Of course not. Name me one --- any level --- that has been. I can't think of any.

danny said...

Dan S.

The council's outside council needs to update their legal files. The legislature explicitly provided for council approval and Jeske presented that info to the council. They should vote it in.

ozboy said...

Mr. Curmudgeon

Welllllll, once again I suppose you and I will just have to differ on this one.

I think her campaign was ill advised and very poorly conducted. I think the only reason she even came close is because of the very large reservoir of contempt and distrust for Godfrey within the electorate.

Did you check the expiration date on your Gingko biloba lately? Might be time to get a new supply.

This is of course written with the up most respect and reverence for your, generally, superior knowledge on all things worth knowing ;-)

Curmudgeon said...

oz:

What the devil is Gingko Biloba? Sounds like an Ecuadorian soccer player but that can't be right.

Your Friendly Local Neuroscientist said...

It's supposed to be a natural remedy for memory problems, especially what someone who attends neuroscience conferences for 35 years would call "benign age-associated memory impairment". There may be some benefit in Alzheimer's as well.

Gingko biloba is the name of the tree from which the extract is taken.

Curmudgegon said...

YFLN:

Ah. OK. TY.

ozboy said...

Yea Mr. Curmudgeon, it helps you remember shit like what a bush league campaign our spear carrier SVH ran in the last election!

Curmudgeon said...

YFLN:

Thanks for the link by the way. Found this there: Ginkgo biloba is the oldest living tree species. A single tree can live as long as 1,000 years and grow to a height of 120 feet.

Looked it up on Wikipedia and found this: a unique species of tree with no close living relatives. The ginkgo is classified in its own division, the Ginkgophyta, comprising the single class Ginkgoopsida, order Ginkgoales, family Ginkgoaceae, genus Ginkgo and is the only extant species within this group. It is one of the best-known examples of a living fossil, because Ginkgoales are not known from the fossil record after the Pliocene.

Kind of a plant-world coelacanth, it seems.

Interesting stuff. Thanks again for the pointer.

dan s. said...

danny,

Hope you're still checking this thread.

The legal situation is not so simple. I independently consulted a Salt Lake attorney who is very interested in this issue. He initially thought you were right, but when he researched it further it became murky. After the council passed the Mt. Ogden Community Plan, which explicitly protects Mt. Ogden Park, my motivation to conduct further research waned. The next step would be to check the legislative history tapes for the legislation that you mention. Interested in doing the digging?

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