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Council Member Wright Hopes UAC Will Look At Civility Issue

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The Utah Association of Counties has its annual convention next month, and Summit County Council Member Glenn Wright hopes there will be a  discussion about what he and Council colleagues think is a serious problem in the organization.

Wright points to  political lobbying—and targeting of people perceived as dissenters.

The Summit County Council  sent a letter to UAC  expressing serious concern after a UAC meeting in October of County Commisisoners and Council Members.    

As we’ve reported, an official from a rural county asked members to join an effort to support President Trump—and pointed a finger at a Democrat in the room, Summit County Council Member Kim Carson.

Wright noted that he actually was at the meeting, and when he had to leave, Carson filled in for him.

Wright said he has seen similar incidents at UAC events.     

“And I think it’s unfortunate cause UAC just came through a very difficult period of time.    Really it was based upon the Lyman episode down in San Juan County a couple of years ago.   And I thought we were moving hopefully in the right direction.   But this was really a step back in the wrong direction.    And Kim called the UAC leadership and I did also, and they’ve promised to address it.   But we’ll just have to see what happens at the next meeting.”

He said he thinks the incident was both about political affiliation—and about gender.    Wright said there are few women at UAC gatherings.

“It’s a—I’m gonna guess, looking around the room—probably 95 percent OWG’s—Old White Guys like myself.   And a lot of them come from the heavily rural counties.  We’ve got 29 counties in Utah, and 23 of them, including Summit are considered rural.   And some of the counties are very small.   Daggett County has about 1000 people.   Piute has about 1500.   Probably about 10 counties that have under 10,000 population.”

We asked Wright if the county wants UAC to take some punitive action against these inappropriate comments.     

“Well, we’ll see.   We’ll see what the discussion engenders.   I think the leadership is going to have to, when they observe things like this, come right out and say, “No, Commissioner X, that was the wrong thing to do.    That was the wrong thing to say.”  And sometimes when you’re a severe minority like we are, it’s difficult to actually say, “How am I gonna respond to this?”

Despite the problems, Wright said Summit County sees benefits from membership in UAC, in a couple of ways.     

“We do get to express our opinions to some of these rural commissioners.   If you see the way Congress works right now, nobody talks to each other.   Least we have the opportunity to talk to people with a diverse opinion.”

Wright added that UAC was very helpful in supporting passage of two bills the county wanted at last winter’s legislature—one measure dealing with sewer service districts, the other concerning the county’s Renewable Energy Services Contract with Rocky Mountain

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covers Summit County meetings and issues. KPCW snagged him from The Park Record in the '80s, and he's been on air and covering the entire county ever since. He produces the Week In Review podcast, as well a heads the Friday Film Review team.
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