By Dan S.
Scott Schwebke's article on the budget veto, which WCF reported yesterday, is now up on the Standard-Examiner web site.
In addition, the S-E has posted a fascinating 13-page memo, outlining the mayor's legal arguments. It'll take some time for us all to digest this, but here are a few points:
1) The mayor is trying to veto the policy language on the MWC, Lorin Farr Pool, and golf courses without vetoing their actual appropriations. Whether he can do this is legally questionable, because his line-item veto applies only to appropriations. The memo cites some case law (from other states) on this question. However, putting aside the legality question, this tactic will make it harder for the council to find the votes to override the veto.
2) The mayor is claiming that the council must take a single up-or-down vote on overriding his veto, rather than separate votes on the three separate policy items. (His reasoning on this makes no sense to me at all.)
3) The mayor gives multiple reasons why he believes the policy language is illegal in the first place, under state law. We've heard most of these before. If the council doesn't override his veto, these legal issues will probably be moot for the time being. But make no mistake: The mayor is claiming here that he has the unilateral power to dispose of city recreational facilities, and that the council can do nothing to stop him.
Editor's addendum: A coupla added points:
1) Godfrey's memo also cites and relies upon a 1978 Utah Supreme Court decision, Martindale v. Anderson, an electronic copy of which we just happened to already have available on our storage site.
2) Notably, Mr. Schwebke also reports that the matter will be set for next week's Tuesday council calendar, although a possible override vote may not actually happen before early August:
The veto is set to be officially presented to the city council at its meeting Tuesday, said Bill Cook, the council's executive director. However, a vote on the veto won't likely occur until the council's Aug. 4 meeting, he said.Although Mr. Schwebke doesn't provide information to account for this delay, we'll assume the time lag is intended to provide time for the Council's attorney, Mr. Hall, to review Mr. Godfrey's
Significantly though, the projected August 4 veto override date falls well beyond the July 15, 2009 municipal election filing deadline.
So, as we see it, that's just one more reason, we think, for civic minded Ogden Ward 3 residents to seriously consider filing for the Ward 3 council seat, in which council incumbent Doug Stephens presently stands unopposed. Our view is that it certainly wouldn't hurt to have a hungry Ward 3 council challenger or two looking over councilman Stephens' shoulder, (or breathing down his neck, as the case may be.)
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