Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Council To Consider Veto Override Tonight - Updated

A rare opportunity for the Council to clarify and redefine the nature of Administration/Council relations

Thumbnail update: Boss Godfrey's veto is overridden, 5-2

This morning's Standard-Examiner edition affords another opportunity to again remind our readers of tonight's city council meeting, wherein the council will consider overriding Mayor Godfrey's veto of the policy statements contained in the Ogden City 2010 fiscal year budget. Scott Schwebke does a good job of framing the issues in his morning writeup:
Council to review Godfrey veto items
As Ogden City political wonks are well aware, the ultimate outcome of tonight's council confrontation is of crucial importance to the citizens of Ogden City, inasmuch as it will not only determine the mode of operations of the Marshall White Center during the 2010 fiscal year, but also define the nature of administration/council political relations for the remaining balance of Mayor Godfrey's current mayoral term... and well beyond.

Item #10 on tonight's council agenda provides the Ogden City council the opportunity to reassert itself as the policy making body of Ogden City, a legislatively designated role which the council has sadly abdicated and neglected over the years. If the council fails to assert itself as the body of municipal government which will henceforth set broad overall city policy regarding the operation of city amenities such as the MWC, Lorin Farr Park and the Mount Ogden Golf Course, for example, the council will be destined to travel a very rough and rocky road over the next 2-1/2 years indeed.

In this connection, we'll once again provide our WCF council contact link, in the expectation our readers won't be shy in politely expressing to their elected council representatives their recommendations concerning tonight's proposed veto override :
Contact Local Officials - Ogden City
As for tonight's council session, we'll advise everyone to get themselves to the council chambers early, as we have reason to believe it'll be a packed house of steely-eyed lumpencitzens in attendance, torches and pitchforks in hand.

And if you can't attend tonight's council session, be sure to check back here after the council session starts. We do anticipate that we'll have live realtime updates available, one way or another.

In the meantime, we invite your reader comments. There's much to discuss in re this topic this morning, we believe.

Update 8/4/09 5:24 p.m. MT: Having heard nothing from any of our WCF regulars about providing our own independent blog updates from the council chambers, and having promised to provide at least something in the nature of a live realtime council meeting play-by-play, we'll adopt and incorporate the "tweets" of The Standard's Ace Reporter Schwebke here. Mr. Schwebke is already apparently situated inside the council chambers, ready to report. If all goes according to plan, our readers can follow Mr. Schwebke's live reporting, by opening and periodically "refreshing" the Twitter page linked here:
Reporter Scott Schwebke tweets tonight from Ogden City Council meeting
Stand by, gentle readers. This is bound to be most interesting.

Update 8/4/09 6:13 p,m. MT: Wonder of wonders, it seems that WCF Regulars Jim Hutchins and Dan Schroeder are also both stationed inside the council chambers, posting their own live updates in our comments section. Dang. This is gonna be REALLY good, wethinks!

P.S.: In view of the above, and considering the proven capability of these two fellas, we have the sneaking suspicion that Mr. Schwebke will be seriously out-gunned in tonight's realtime reporting free-for-all.

Update 8/4/09 7:25 p.m. MT: The veto is overridden, 5-2. For further details, check out our lower comments section.


see, I Told you so said...

If Doug Stephens should vote to override the veto then he is a man that can stand on his own, If he does not, then he has been pressured to be a Godfrey sheep. And this will be the only term he will serve. I For one will then get out and campaign against him, I had planned to stay out of this race. but we'll see what happens tonight.

pundit said...

Godfrey has undoubtedly promised to support Stephens in the election if he votes to sustain the veto. But we all know how good Godfrey's promises are. He's got another candidate in this race and will support that candidates over Stephens no matter what.

Bill C. said...

Though this issue is framed around certain specifics, MWC,Lorin Farr pool and golf courses, thats really not at all what it's really about.
Doug Stevens, Blaine Johnson and Brandon Stevenson, it is your responsibility as Americans to vote with the others to over-ride this veto. It's not about whether or not you support the mayor's ideas or agenda, it's about our whole system of government.
The Council have specific responsibilities that they should never pass on to the administration, doing so is a kin to allowing a dictatorship, or near kingdom.
Brandon's quote in this article is a joke, and shows he's really not a suitable person to be serving in this capacity.
If Blain votes for the veto to stand, it's because he's become totally corrupted. His law background attests to the fact that he knows how our government is supposed to function.
Doug Stevens just may not be capable of understanding this at all. Poor Doug just may be way over his head on this one. All we can do is hope he see's the light.
I suggest anyone that can, get a hold of him today, before he gets to that meeting.

Curmudgeon said...

Bill's got it right. The issue is no longer "who has the best policy for the MWC, Lorin Farr Pool, etc.?" The issue now is simply does the Council in fact have any real authority over the budget and spending or does it not? Because if the Mayor's view about that prevails --- that he can veto language in the budget that specifies what money must be spent for, but at the same time not veto the appropriation itself --- he can turn nearly any part of the budget the Council passes into a free grant of funds that he can use as he sees fit. IF that view of the Mayor's veto authority prevails, damn little of the already damn little independent authority of the Council will remain.

PS: Bill [and others]: may I politely suggest that if you are trying to sway the vote of a councilman in your direction, beginning by insulting him is, perhaps, not the wisest of tactics.

sportsmetaphorboy said...

The council's been sitting on the bench for too long. It's time they got back into the game.

RudiZink said...

Actually, Curm and Bill, I believe the issue is even more broad than that. I believe the real issue here is whether the council has the legal authority to set policy in a broad range of matters, including those which don't directly involve the budget.

RudiZink said...

I believe gentle reader Dan S. hits the nail squarely on the head, in the comments section under today's SE article:

The mayor's legal theories are pure fabrication. He's claiming he has unilateral authority to shut down any city facility he wants. That would be monarchy. Here's the law:

10-3b-202. Mayor in council-mayor form of government.
(1) The mayor in a municipality operating under the council-mayor form of government:
(c) shall:
(ii) execute the policies adopted by the council;

The council makes policy, and the mayor executes that policy.

Also, his veto itself was illegal:

10-3b-204. (2) (a) The mayor in a municipality operating under a council-mayor form of municipal government may veto an ordinance or tax levy or all or any part of an appropriation passed by the council.

He didn't veto part of an appropriation, he kept the appropriation and vetoed the policy. In other words he wants the money but with no strings attached.

ozboy said...

The mayor will prevail on this vote 4 to 3. Hopefully this will incite fence sitters in Ogden to get off their butts and vote in the next election.

blackrulon said...

Wouldn"t it be nice if this council meeting was available on channel 17 or ogdencity.com

Rockford J. said...

If the mayor wins on this vote, watch for the bulldozers to start rolling on other city-owned property.
This is just a signal-flare/trial balloon for a long-planned development push for the next 3 years.

Bench property comes to mind.

Vote for Override said...


Right on! We'll also a gondola pad going up at the top of 36th St. and then those big ugly gondola supports!

I hope Godfrey gets trapped in the gondola when one of those unpredicted high winds rips through Ogden and shuts the gondola down in 20 seconds with no escape for riders.

see, I Told you so said...

Well if the council, or those three that are the Godfrey ites. vote to sustain the mayor. I hate to tell you so, but If there were a different mayor in the office beside the ones we had to chose from in 07 we would not be having this discussion.

Curmudgeon said...

Don't know how the vote will come out tonight -- I lack the crystal ball others seem to have access to --- but if the veto is sustained, and a majority voted not to sustain it, the majority should consider, and quickly, voting to ask a court for an injunction to prevent the mayor from acting on the basis of the veto until the legality of his claim that he can veto the text of a budget item without vetoing any of the money appropriated for the purpose can be determined. That's a matter that only a court can resolve [absent clarifying legislation from SLC].

wildcat said...

Mayor is using the broadest interpretation of the word manage possible. Or should I say he has stretched the word beyond it's accepted meaning. He claims that since his power is to manage city entities that he can eliminate them. And Council oversteps it's authority by trying to prevent him from doing just that. Dan S is correct, if we follow his lead then we no longer have a Council-Mayor system.

Jim Hutchins said...

Call to order, pledge, moment of silence. Ready to go.

Jim Hutchins said...

Minutes seem to be okay.

Jim Hutchins said...

The MWC veto override is down the agenda some. I'll be here.

Dan S. said...

Notice that they've postponed the minutes from the meeting where they passed the budget. (That's according to the agenda--I just arrived at the meeting and wasn't here when they passed the minutes.)

Dan S. said...

Not as many people here as I was hoping for--plenty of empty seats. Maybe two dozen citizens at the moment.

Current agenda item is 8b: ordinance regarding private streets.

Dan S. said...

No public input on that item; passed unanimously.

Now we're on the budget opening to reallocate $24,000 to support CVB.

(Veto override vote is next.)

Jim Hutchins said...

Ms. Toliver giving a report on the CVB.

Jim Hutchins said...

Dan! Didn't see you come in. You take the lead.

Dan S. said...

CVB is presenting: There's been a big increase in skier visits to Ogden in recent years; moderate increase in use of Eccles Conference Center.

Jim Hutchins said...

Dueling bloggers. I can take the fashion brief, if you want, Dan. Ms. Toliver's slacks are quite practical. Perhaps even fetching, it has been suggested to me.

Dan S. said...

Still from CVB: 2009 numbers (for hotel/motel use) are down, but not as much for Weber County as for Salt Lake or Summit.

(She's rattling off more statistics than are in the powerpoint slides, and not all of them are clear.)

Dan S. said...

Hi Jim!

No comment on Ms. Tolliver's slacks.

Dan S. said...

Mary hall just came in quietly, and Godfrey looked over at her and smiled (winced?).

Jim Hutchins said...


I think the grey slacks, sort of a moleskin fabric, are actually quite a nice contrast to her cream, barely off-white blouse, of a synthetic fabric with gentle draping.

Dan S. said...

Tolliver seems to be reading her presentation from a prepared script--too quickly to be thinking about what she's saying (and too quickly for the rest of us to think about it).

Jim Hutchins said...

Sounds like she's wrapping up.

Dan S. said...

More citizens are trickling in.

Now Tolliver is bragging about an event that's coming to WSU in two or three years (National Conference for Undergraduate Research). Points out that there aren't enough rooms in Weber County to house all the participants so many will have to stay farther away.

Wicks is now complimenting Tolliver on CVB web site, with personal anecdote of its usefulness.

Jim Hutchins said...

It's showtime.

Dan S. said...

Motion-second-passed unanimously.

Veto override is now up for discussion.

Dan S. said...

Wicks explains the process:

Mayor vetoed three sections, all policy statements (one on Marshall White; one on Lorin Farr pool; and one on the two golf courses).

Council is required to reconsider vetoes. Council will consider a motion to override. Council members will be allowed to comment before the vote; mayor after.

Jim Hutchins said...

Chair Wicks is providing an overview and summary of the situation.

Three sections were vetoed, sections 2, 3 and 4, which contain policy statements. She is reading the appropriate sections.

2. MWC
3. Lorin Farr pool
4. El Monte & Mt Ogden golf courses

The council must reconsider these items.

Council will consider a motion to override, 2/3 vote required to override (5 votes).

Council members will comment, Mayor will respond, then a vote will be taken.

Jim Hutchins said...

Oops. My mistake. Dan is right.

Jeske is reading a statement. She states the Mayor is asserting unilateral authority.

She is remarking on the division of powers in a council-mayor form of government.

Opportunity to re-assert the council as the policy-making body, as provided in legislation.

Jim Hutchins said...

Jeske is now reading the law, and pointing out that the Mayor vetoed the policy and kept the appropriation.

If this happens, "we will lose our independent authority as a council."

"It is imperative, in order to maintain the integrity of the council" to override the veto.

Motion to override by Jeske.

Garcia second.

Dan S. said...

Jeske is now reading a prepared statement... quotes from the Utah Municipal Code... If we fail to assert ourselves as policy makers we should be prepared for ridicule of our constituents... This vote goes beyond the MWC... If we don't override, mayor would effectively have a free grant of funds to spend however he wants.

Ends with a motion to override. Garcia seconds.

Dan S. said...

Mayor wants to talk. Wicks says don't repeat what's in the 13-page memo. Godfey says public needs to hear what's in the memo, asserts that state law gives him the right to engage in free-flowing dialog with the council.

Wicks offers five minutes. Godfrey says then everyone should be limited to 5 minutes. Back and forth...

Jim Hutchins said...

The Mayor would like to assert his authority to speak out of turn.

Chair Wicks is telling him he has a 13-page response already.

Now he wants "the public" to hear his 13-page memo.

Wicks is reminding him it's also the council's meeting.

He says State Law provides him the authority to speak "as though he's a council member."

Chair Wicks says she will allow a brief response, but not dominate the discussion.

She is offering 5 minutes.

This is deteriorating into an argument.

Jim Hutchins said...

The Mayor is rebutting Jeske's statement regarding unilateral authority.

He is using the phrase "State Law" once per sentence, on average.

Dan S. said...

Godfrey: It's not true that I'm seeking unilateral authority to do whatever I want. Administration has the duty to administer... alludes to state law and case law. What was proposed in this budget was brand new... It's never been done by any other city. These policy statements are trying to give additional authority to city council and are illegal under state law. Martindale case blah blah blah.

Jim Hutchins said...

The Mayor says the council's attempt to direct policy is illegal under state law. He is invoking the Martindale decision.

He claims that "policy" is too broad a term to be defined.

My battery is running low. Dan may have to take over.

Dan S. said...

Godfrey: Mayor has the authority to enter into contracts and to manage property. "Policy" pertains only to "general rules" (quoting Martindale case). Legislative branch is here usurping power of property management. [All of this repeats what's in his 13-page memo.]

Jim Hutchins said...

The Mayor claims that "policy" and "executive function" are mutually exclusive. He claims his executive function (to buy and sell property, sign contracts) supercedes the council's policy function.

Dan S. said...

More Godfrey: Mayor also has executive power to administer programs. Council has no authority to take this power away from the mayor.

[Editorial comment: The Martindale case, which I've read, is a real problem because the Supreme Court contradicted itself in the decision. Also, the law has been changed since that decision and there's some dispute over whether the legislature's intent was to override the decision or codify it.]

Jim Hutchins said...

Mayor: Policy statement overrides Mayor's ability to enter into contracts.

This has never happened before, in Ogden City or any other city.

Timer has gone off, he continues.

Jim Hutchins said...


Issue is, what's important for Ogden?

He asks the Mayor: does this vote affect the contract?

The Mayor, of course, says it would be horrible. Dogs and cats living together. Four horsemen riding. Armageddon! Floods! Fire! Hurricanes!

Jim Hutchins said...

Wicks: Contract was effective after budget passed.

Williams: Contract effective Jun 29. Ordinance not effective yet, contract is.

Stephens is clearly leaning toward Mayor, feeding him softballs.

Dan S. said...

Godfrey is talking about veto procedure but Wicks cuts him off at 5 minutes.

Stephens asks mayor a question about whether policy would conflict with contract.

Contract became valid on June 29 according to Williams. That predates the enactment (potentially tonight) of the policy language.

Williams points out that budget isn't in effect yet.

Stephens: Policy directs city to keep pool open; contract doesn't require this. [So where's the conflict?]

Jim Hutchins said...

Mayor still talking. Rules do not apply to him.

Jim Hutchins said...

Uncomfortable silence. Mayor fills it with more talk.

Dan S. said...

Godfrey: Policy would interfere with our ability to work with OWCAP to better serve the community.

More Godfrey: Policy would also interfere with my ability to administer Lorin Farr and golf courses.

Stephens: All we're saying is that we would maintain it and keep it open.

Godfrey: It says "by the city".

Jim Hutchins said...

State Law...blah...blah...contracts...State Law...blah...blah

Dan S. said...

Stephens isn't buying what the mayor says about "by the city". He understands that merely bringing in someone else to manage it wouldn't violate the policy. But Godfrey continues to assert the contrary.

Dan S. said...

Garcia: We specifically discussed this and it wasn't our intent to prohibit operation by a concessionaire.

Godfrey: I don't know how I would differentiate between "maintain" and "operate".

Garcia: Administration has had plenty of time; let's take statements from council.

Gochnour (over the phone): The council determines what programs and services are provided. The mayor determines how those services are provided.

Jim Hutchins said...


Understanding that the pool is not to be given away, but still owned by the city but operated by someone else.

Garcia is objecting to Mayor's interruptions. Wants council to discuss, then vote.


Council determines what programs and services are provided, Mayor decides how it's to be provided. Emphasis hers.

Wicks agrees.

Jim Hutchins said...


The pool at the MWC is a concern, I share in that concern. Some believe good government is not good government without "cat fighting".

I believe in civil and communicative ways of dealing with issues.

Road council is considering will require legal system to sort out who's right.

That does not serve people of Ogden.

Alternatives have not been discussed. Suggests that methodology of council should focus on finding ways to help OWCAP, which has entered into a contract, to get the space they need so they don't close the pool.

Dan S. said...

Wicks agrees with Gochnour.

Stephenson: I've spent a lot of time considering this. I share the concern for the MWC pool. There are people here who believe that we can't have good government without cat-fighting. I'm not one of those people. I believe that there are always civil and communicative ways to overcome differences. What we're presented with tonight is a road that will lead us to legal battles. That doesn't serve the people of Ogden well. There are alternatives to a cat-fight. I suggest to my fellow council members to find ways to help OWCAP get the space they need so the pool can stay open. The council funded the MWC fully, so that can take care of the pool. A cat-fight won't resolve this problem. Even though the council and administration have our own responsibilities, but in some situations, one power dominates. We have the power to allocate funding to new projects. But when something is potentially being taken away, it's less clear. [repeating himself now] I won't go in a direction that merely creates additional conflict; we need less conflict, not more.

Jim Hutchins said...


Agrees with Stephenson. Need to find other ways of keeping pool open than throwing it into litigation.

In most cases, there are resolutions to conflict without litigation.

Should not be perceived that vote not to override veto is a vote against the pool. He's for the pool, against the veto.

Dan S. said...

Johnson: Stephenson has spoken to a lot of my concerns. We don't want to go to litigation. [So whenever the mayor threatens a lawsuit, council should back down?] A vote not to override isn't a vote against the pool. I support the pool and I've told the mayor this. I don't support the policy statements that were made.

Jim Hutchins said...


Responsibility of council is policy. Have not overstepped bounds by making policy statements.

His personal feeling: not to override would be going against our personal responsibility.


Vote could impact relationship between administration and council. There are rights and wrongs on each side of the issue. Everyone is looking for the betterment of Ogden. Has interviewed many people, and studied the issue. If OWCAP is successful, it can be good for Ogden. We need to support OWCAP and Dr. Carpenter.

Invoking Officer White's name and legacy.

Mayor in tight fiscal policy has to find every nickel and dime. Funds difficult to find. Must find agency that can operate MWC in effective way, then funds can be used in another part of the city.

Dan S. said...

Garcia: This isn't about MWC. It's about separation of powers. The responsibility of the council is policy. I don't believe we've over-stepped our bounds. By not overriding this, we would be going against our own responsibility.

Stephens: This has been a difficult issue. The impact tonight will affect the relationship between administration and council. I'm not sure if that's a good avenue. It could also impact other municipalities. There are rights and wrongs on each side of this issue. Everyone is looking for the betterment of Ogden. That's what we should look at. I went through and studied the material, talked to many individuals, including Dr. Carpenter of OWCAP. We need to support them. When MWC was built it was for youth who needed a service. But it has changed to a center that serves the whole community, and we need to consider that. We will continue to pay for the MWC because of the services that are there. Office White gave his life in the service of Ogden.

Still Stephens: Also we need to remember that if you're the mayor, in tight fiscal times, you try to find every nickel and dime you can. The mayor has tried to find an agency that can operate MWC effectively so he can use any available funds elsewhere. That's what I'd do in his shoes.

Still Stephens: The responsibility of the council is to set policy. Tonight I will vote for what is best for Ogden. I have no other agenda.

Jeske: OWCAP has stated they will keep programs depending on grants. But we all know that grants are like gambling. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don't. The city shouldn't gamble by turning everything over to OWCAP.

Jim Hutchins said...


We all know that getting grants is a gamble. They have no way of knowing what grants they will get. We should not gamble with OWCAP.


It is the duty and responsibility of the council to set policy. That's what we're doing.

Dan S. said...

Wicks: I don't believe these policy statements infringe on the mayor's powers.

Time to vote: Stephens: Aye!

Jim Hutchins said...

Stephenson no
Garcia aye
Jeske aye
Johnson aye
Stephens aye
Gochnour aye
Wicks aye

Jim Hutchins said...

Mayor wants to talk some more.

Dan S. said...

The veto is overridden, 5-2.

Godfrey: I agree with Stephenson. He and Johnson both came and talked to me about pool. As a matter of policy that's the right way to go about it. I just want to make it clear that I'm not going to comply with these policies, because they are illegal. We will continue to operate as we have in the past.

Jim Hutchins said...

Johnson no, my bad. 5-2.

Mayor will not follow these items. They are illegal. He will not comply. He swore an oath to uphold the constitution.

Jim Hutchins said...

Mayor is still talking. He needs some cheese to go with this whine.

Dan S. said...

Godfrey: Council can't micro-manage policy by telling administration to hire a particular individual, etc. Statements like "at current levels" and "by the city" are telling us [royal "we"] how to provide services, not what.

Dan S. said...

[Editor's note: The courts, of course, can find ways to differentiate between micro-management and appropriate legislative policy. Many states and cities have wrestled with this before.]

Jim Hutchins said...

"I would be relegated to being a puppet of the council." -- Mayor "Pinocchio" Godfrey

Jeske is walking out.

Jim Hutchins said...

Public comments. Battery low. I'm shutting down.

Dan S. said...

Public Comments...

Mary Hall: The policy statements in the budget are very broad. Also, the budget is a living document that can be changed in the future if appropriate. (As you did in number 9 tonight.)

Marian Duffy: I've been noticing what OWCAP has been doing. They've done a wonderful job with some improvements. I feel that this council is fair and would allow them to make good modifications if they ask. Thanks to those of you who voted yes. Also: New MWC administrator just had a double bypass and is in the hospital. Also, janitor's mother passed away last night.

Danny said...

Godfrey's comments really, honestly, make no sense to me.

Is Jeske really walking out as the mayor is talking? That woman is 100% pure class. Man, will I miss her.

Dan S. said...

Neil Hansen: When mayor says he won't obey ordinance, I wonder what else he may not obey. We have three branches of government. If the mayor doesn't like what you've done, he should take this to the courts and let them decide--not just disobey. I have a very in-depth understanding of contracts. Look at how much money taxpayers lost by prematurely entering into contracts for Legacy Highway. Mayor shouldn't contract out the job that he's been hired to do.

Danny said...

Wow. Dan and Jim's posts are so much better, more colorful, more informative than Schwebke's.

Note that the mayor has been consistently wrong whenever he has asserted the law. He knows he is wrong here. Why all the whining?

Come back, Matt. Rejoin us here in reality.

Dan S. said...

Theresa Holmes: ... Mayor promised not to close down golf course.

Godfrey again: I have no intention of closing down the Mt. Ogden golf course. But the campaign promise was that I would not sell the golf course. We've had many successes contracting things out, e.g., road building. We do the same for the city: We look for other groups that can administer things in a more cost-effective way. Example: Ogden Marathon is run by GOAL Foundation. Union Station is another example. Rodeo is a third example. [What's his point? The policies don't preclude contracting out the management.] Tonight we've heard two people say OWCAP is doing a great job.

Still Godfrey: In response to Jeske's comment about gambling, that was referring to new programs, not existing programs. [Done!]

Dan S. said...

Comments from council...

Stephens: This year we had 48,000 attend the rodeo. So it's working. We need to get behind OWCAP to ensure that they're successful. We also need to use the facility; if we don't use it, there's no need to fund those programs.

Wicks: The difference with OWCAP and MWC is that the contract allows the pool to be closed.


Rockford J. Sappho said...

I consider this a victory for the environment.

The environment thanks the city council and all supporters.

blackrulon said...

What is the proper response to the mayors saying that "I'm not going to comply with these policies,because they are illegal. We will continue to operate as we have in the past" Is this going to lead to a court fight? If the budget is tight where will the money for the lawsuit come from? Thanks to the council members that voted to override the veto. Does the mayor or as he says "we" above the law?

RudiZink said...

Dan & Jim

Truly awesome RT reporting tonight, fellas!

I'm in awe, and I'm sure that those readers who followed your updates share that sentiment.

Many thanks.

Jim Hutchins said...

Now back home and plugged in, recharging.

Jeske came back in after the mayor finished talking. Maybe she needed to use the facilities; maybe she needed a breath of fresh air. She was present for public comments.

The "surreal-est" moment in a truly surreal evening was when the Mayor lectured us all on history. I'm doing this from memory, but he was going on at length about how some services are better provided by contract than by the city directly. As an example, he used the road system. He said, then the legislature thought it would be more cost-effective to have private companies build roads under contract.

Which, of course, perfectly undercut his argument. It wasn't the Governor or the Mayor -- an executive -- that made that decision. It was a legislative decision.

Ogden Dem said...

Many thanks to Wicks (you are awesome), Gochnour, Jeske and Garcia; Stephens I think is just worried about re-election so he finally swung to the right side. Johnson - lame duck and Stephenson let's just bring his actions to light if he chooses to run again.

Jim Hutchins said...

Ogden Dem:

I dunno. Others who were there may disagree (Dan?) but I felt that Councilman Stephenson was really torn. Not so torn that he would vote to override the veto, but he seemed to be truly perplexed that it had come to this pass.

I think he has a particular worldview and was really uncomfortable with the challenge to that worldview represented by those who wanted to override.

ozboy said...

Kudos to Dan, Jim and yes Scott Schwebke for the fine service they all did for Ogden citizens who are following this "constitutional" crisis. It will be interesting to see Scott's story on this in tomorrows Standard.

And to the Ogden city council - congratulations for standing up to the tyrant on this issue. I hope your new found pair of huevos don't get lost again.

Curmudgeon said...

Thank you both for the blog posts. And can someone tell me how I access Mr. Schwebke's posts on this? Do I need a Twitter account to do that?

Good result. Interesting that Hizzonah's reaction was more or less "the ordinance and Council be damned, I'm going to do what I want regardless! L'etat c'est moi!"

Southsider said...


The link to Schwebke's twitter is in the blog as "Reporter Scott Schwebke tweets tonight ..."

Curmudgeon said...

South: TY

drewmeister said...

Thank you, the five members of the city council with hearts and brains. Thank you for standing up for what is right. Thank you.

I'm stunned speechless with pride. I really don't know what else to say.

Jim Hutchins said...


No more or less about it. That's exactly what he said. It was petulant, it was puerile, it was a rant.

To access anyone's Twitter feed, you can find the account by either Googling, or typing in the search window at


without signing in. You only need to sign up for a Twitter account if you want to follow, or be followed by, another Twitter user.

For example, my Twitter account name is AgileRoxy. I am followed by (among 70-odd others) MarkShurtleff and Wasatch Roller Girls (both added within minutes of each other today). That means that a "micro-blog" is made up whenever they log in that consists of my posts and anyone else they're following.

Similarly, when I log into my account, I get a micro-blog (sorted by time, in reverse order) of what all those I am following have posted.

I hope that makes some sense.

Biker Babe said...

Wow. Just wow.


Curmudgeon said...


Thanks. Good to known how to find twitter postings live like this. Had no idea and would not have found Mr. Schwebke's w/o Rudi posting the link Southsider pointed me to. Good to know how to find them cold, so to speak. Thanks again.

OgdenLover said...

I think that everyone who contacted Doug Stephens asking him to vote to override should again contact him to thank him for his vote. I'm sure it wasn't an easy decision for him and he should feel know it is appreciated. The Mayor certainly won't reward him for voting this way, so we should. Maybe he's started a trend.

Curmudgeon said...

Been thinking about Jim H's observation about Councilman Stephenson: "I felt that Councilman Stephenson was really torn. Not so torn that he would vote to override the veto, but he seemed to be truly perplexed that it had come to this pass."

In general, Councilman Stephenson's lament that cat fights and confrontation are no way to run a city is right. The problem is, the cooperation he called for requires the participation of both the Council and the Mayor. And unfortunately, as the SE noted in an editorial on the MWC, the Mayor's practice of springing things on the Council, of playing "gotcha!" not only is not an effective way to govern a city, it also can come back to bite you in the butt.

Which is, I think, in no small way what happened tonight. A competent Mayor who knew how to build coalitions within his own city would have involved the Council in the tight-budget driven decisions and contract negotiations from the git-go, would have worked closely with the Council from the start, so that by the time something got to a vote, a workable compromise and policy would have been agreed on, and no veto or veto override would have been necessary.

But, sadly, Ogden does not have a Mayor who understands even the fundamentals of good management; a mayor who's attitude toward the Council has been for a long time now "My way or the highway!" [Think of his reneging on his agreement about both he and the council agreeing on what the city lobbyest would work on; think of his dropping the MWC contract details on the Council out of the blue, and much much more.] And now all the chickens set loose by his arrogance and contempt for the Council have come home to roost.

He is indeed often his own worst enemy.

Jim Hutchins said...


Bingo. My observation was, he should've known going into the vote that it was a losing hand.

If he had perceived that he was going to lose (we all knew it was going to be close), if he had even allowed himself to remotely consider the prospect of losing, he would've done everything in his power to avoid the veto override he got tonight.

Getting outvoted 5-2, not on a minor point or technicality, but on an issue that speaks to the core of the relationship between mayor and council, was not a "ditch he wants to die in" as a former boss of mine was wont to say.

A good executive picks his battles. He picked a really bad one tonight.

Curmudgeon said...


The chairman of a department I worked for for 30 years --- who practiced "management by walking around" before the business gurus discovered the idea --- once told me "never let anything come to a vote until you know what the vote is going to be." In 20 years, I saw him surprised by a vote one time --- once, in two decades. Now that's smart management.

Bill C. said...

Not much I can add to what Jim and Dan reported. Jim has all ready reported the repeated adnaseum use of "state law" "state law" by the mayor, only to respond in the end that he wont regard any of this. Why not check the "state law" thru the judicial system mayor? One get's the impression listening to lying little matty, he thinks he a legal genious, which might explain Gary Williams employment. I can picture the mayor stating, who needs a lawyer, we got me.
One finer point not reported by either of our astute live bloggers/reporters was the presence of the channel 17 camera or it's location. It was fixed directly accross the room from the mayors seat. A full frontal divining forehead shot. Some may believe that the mayor's filibustering was simply yucking it up for the camera, maybe some, but the last meeting this was discussed he also tried to filibuster into the wee hours.
Jim, Stephenson is a fraud and very phony, he wrestled with nothing, he never looked past the mayor's court, didn't even check the wind.
Stevens on the other hand, may have experienced his biggest stuggle in public life as well as his biggest triumph.Kudo's to Doug Stevens, he answered the bell.
Funniest thing not mentioned by our crack team of reporters was the elation and joy of the masses exiting the chamber, quite telling.
P.S. I'll bet the gondola examiner wished they could mount such coverage.

ozboy said...

Mr. Curmudgeon

Your department chairman story reminds me of something I learned from a lawyer I used to use a lot back when I instigated a number of legal actions for an investment banking firm I worked for. He told me that a good and well prepared lawyer never ever asks a question of a witness in court that he doesn't already know the answer to.

On this issue before the council tonight, I can say I am glad I was wrong on my prediction of a 4 to 3 vote. I'm surprised by Doug Stevens' vote, I thought for sure that the mayor had him firmly under control. Perhaps the mayor thought so too?

Some one mentioned earlier on the WCF that the mayor had a hand picked candidate in Doug's race. Does any one know who it is? In fact, can any one here give the names of all the Godfreyites in the upcoming election? Be nice to know who they are in case they are shy about letting us know on their own. You just gotta know that Godfrey has a number of ringers in the races.

Jest wonderin said...

Do the "policies" that the council establish have the same force as "laws"?

Can the mayor just simply ignore "policies" that the council establishes?

Does the council have any recourse if the mayor does what he says he is going to do - just simply ignore their policies?

And, can the mayor also just simply ignore city laws?

Candy said...

So what is new the mayor ignore all the laws all the time. One just needs to look at how he runs runs the city.

HooRay!! said...

The Mayor's refusal to follow the law (ordinance is grounds to have him removed from office. He is breaking the law and it doesn't matter whether it's a misdeamor or a felony, he would need to resign or removed from office according to State Code and another Ogden ordinance.

Let's hope he keeps his word and doesn't keep the law.

I think that Chair Wicks would then be the Mayor. What an improvement! Sane suggestions for the city! No more hairbrained "visions!"

Oh, let's hope he keeps his word this time!

Ogden Watcher said...

So Schwebke is now a triple threat. He tweets, shoots video and reports for print edition. http://tinyurl.com/mdo4dy

Dan S. said...

Jim and Curm: Besides agreeing with much of what you've said, my take on Stephenson is that he fundamentally does not believe in separation of powers. His idea of government is a benevolent dictatorship in which the Monarch has a Council of Advisors whom he consults from time to time.

Dan S. said...

Bill: The mayor's confident legal pronouncements were indeed telling. I don't know that he considers himself to be a legal genius, but he has a legal yes-man (Williams) who knows better than to warn the mayor that there are counter-arguments to every argument he has provided. Surrounding himself with yes-men is perhaps the mayor's biggest administrative weakness.

Dan S. said...

Jest wonderin,

Yes, council policies (if contained in an ordinance, including the budget) have the force of law.

Godfrey's argument is that the council's policies are too detailed and infringe on his executive powers to manage city property.

There are some real ambiguities in state law regarding where the line is drawn between legislative and executive powers. However, I think these particular policies are broad enough to hold up if challenged in court.

drewmeister said...

Forgot to say last night, but thank you to Dan S & Jim H for their work of busily texting the happenings of the council meeting for us freaks who actually want to know what happened (as opposed to the typical Gondola-Examiner drivel). You've both done a terrific job.

And thank you to Rudi, our crazed libertarian blogmeister. ;-) I'm going to start donating the same amount as a monthly subscription to the SE, because WCF has as much if not more value. I hope others will do the same.

Benedict Arnold is Alive & Well Serving on the Council said...

Stephenson is Godfrey's mole. If he doesn't suggest that the council inform the Mayor before taking action, or stalls the council with, "Let me think about it some more and I will get back with you," he makes a beeline to Godfrey's office to inform him what the Council has planned.

It is extremely hard to work with someone who is the Mayor's mole. The only way to deal with him is to have private conversations without his knowledge. Apparently the council has figured that out. He should be removed from office for betraying the council. In the real world people such as Stephenson are known as spies and tried for treason. Stephenson should be held in contempt by other council members -- maybe he is and that is why he has NEVER been elected by his fellow council members to council leadership. He's been on the council 6 1/2 years and doesn't have the confidence of his fellow council members! Whereas, Gochnour was on the council only a year when elected as vice chair. Now that is a telling point of how Stephenson is viewed by the rest of the council.

Godfrey stated last night that both Johnson and Stephenson had met with him (to get their "marching" orders from the Mayor). If Johnson had decided to run again, he would have been regarded the same as Stephenson -- a Benedict Arnold! What a reputation to have! Despite their arguement for an alternative method of settling the Mayor's veto, their vote last night revealed their true character -- they have been bought and paid for by the Mayor!

Curmudgeon said...


I hold no brief for Mr. Stephenson, but he's hardly a "Benedict Arnold." He's been clear that he supports the Mayor's agenda and point of view for a very long time. He does not sail under false colors, I'll give him that. And so there's no "traitorous" conduct involved. Oppose his views [as I do]; criticize his uncritical support of the Mayor's agenda and actions, as I do often. But he does not conceal or dissemble about his views. He makes them very plain. The "Benedict Arnold" label is neither accurate nor fair.

On the Inside said...


Apparently you missed: "(Stephenson) stalls the council with, 'Let me think about it some more and I will get back with you.'" You don't think that is being deceitful or "sailing under false colors?

You have been out of touch with the council for some time now. You should be more informed, before putting information forth as fact.

Following Ogden's Candidates said...


Godfrey's plants for council seats are:

Ward 1: Travis Pate - Support and vote for Jesse Garcia!

Ward 3: Don't recall his name, but Trevor Hansen and John Thompson are NOT plants. Hansen would be good -- and Godfrey would not be able to fool him.

At-large Seat A: Mark Hains - Support and vote for Susie Van Hooser.

At-large Seat B: David Phipps - Support and vote for either Jennifer Neil or Bart Blair. Justin Morris is a good guy, but a little young for the job.

Hope this helps you.

Curmudgeon said...

On The Inside:

Sorry, but the characterization of Stephenson as a Benedict Arnold is way out of line. And I don't see how what you quoted changes that. From what I've seen, Stephenson is open, clear and not at all shy about making known his support for Hizzonah and his agenda, to his fellow council members and to the public. You can certainly criticize him for his stands, for his lack of independence, for his uncritical acceptance of Godfrey proposals, and much besides. But not of sailing under false colors to betray his colleagues [as Benedict Arnold did]. Say what you like about Stephenson, he makes no bones about his support for the Mayor.

Rockford J. said...

Hos name is David Wolfgram. He is running for Municipal Ward 3. Ask Amy Wicks for an opinion on Mr. Wolfgram.

Ogden fly on the wall said...

"Hansen would be good -- and Godfrey would not be able to fool him"

Sorry FOC but young Trevor Hansen is a complete numb skull and political neophyte. The only thing he has going is his daddy Neil Hansen. Mayor Godfrey would make mince meat of Trevor just like he does with his very much smarter dad Neil.

We need a strong and savvy person on that council to counter the evil but smart Godfrey gang, not some young, dumb and clueless wannabe. If you really want to know how "mature" this kid is, just check out his facebook page - assuming someone hasn't taken it down yet.

Danny said...

I would like to thank Scott Schwebke for his Blackberry video, and reiterate that having a local paper here in Ogden is vital.

I couldn't believe Godfrey. He really sounded off his rocker.

Do you hear that sound Matt? It's the sound of inevitability. It's the sound of people who don't believe you anymore, and for good reason.

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