© 2024 KPCW

Spencer F. Eccles Broadcast Center
PO Box 1372 | 460 Swede Alley
Park City | UT | 84060
Office: (435) 649-9004 | Studio: (435) 655-8255

Music & Artist Inquiries: music@kpcw.org
News Tips & Press Releases: news@kpcw.org
Volunteer Opportunities
General Inquiries: info@kpcw.org
Listen Like a Local Park City & Heber City Summit & Wasatch counties, Utah
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Heber councilmembers adopt revised code of conduct after disagreement

From left, Councilmember Mike Johnston, Heber City Mayor Heidi Franco, Councilmembers Yvonne Barney, Aaron Cheatwood, Sid Ostergaard and Scott Phillips.
Grace Doerfler / KPCW
From left, Councilmember Mike Johnston, Heber City Mayor Heidi Franco, Councilmembers Yvonne Barney, Aaron Cheatwood, Sid Ostergaard and Scott Phillips.

The discussion was tense as the Heber City Council considered amending its code of conduct Tuesday evening, March 19.

The council is considering revisions to its code of conduct and ethics originally adopted in 2012.

City attorney Jeremy Cook presented the proposed changes in February and the council voted to approve the changes at Tuesday’s meeting.

However, not all councilmembers shared the same vision for what should be included in the code. The crux of the disagreements regarded a section about compliance and enforcement. The draft called on the city manager and city attorney to investigate any ethics complaints, and options for sanctions included requesting formal public apologies, reprimands and removal from leadership positions.

Councilmember Scott Phillips said he had never seen the old code of conduct in his years as an elected official and questioned why it was being brought up now.

“If someone in a committee is acting poorly, they’ll be removed. If someone on the council is acting poorly, they won’t be elected again if they run for re-election,” he said. “There’s already safeguards to protect against that. But I hate the fact of having some sort of a document that someone can potentially use as a moral high ground over somebody else, because we’ve seen that before.”

His comments hinted at a spat during a September 2023 meeting when public officials argued over strained collaboration on the council. The argument came after Mayor Heidi Franco suggested implementing a “dignity index” for Heber public meetings, based on Gov. Spencer Cox’s vision for statewide civil discourse.

Phillips suggested the code of conduct be repealed altogether; his fellow councilmembers disagreed.

“My problem with trying to eliminate the whole thing and just throw it out there willy-nilly and say, ‘We don’t need it because we’re all getting along and kumbaya’ – it doesn’t always happen,” Councilmember Yvonne Barney said. “This could be something that would have helped in those past issues.”

Instead, the council decided to keep the code but remove the section about enforcement. Members said they want the code to provide basic guidance for what’s expected of public officials.

The council passed the resolution to adopt the amended code of conduct in a 4-1 vote, Phillips dissenting. Signing the code of conduct will be optional but encouraged for all public officials in Heber City.

Related Content