February 10, 2016

Confusion ensues over Glendale Council elections

Confusion ensues over Glendale Council elections
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By The West View

Correction: The version of this story that ran in the Winter 2016 issue of The West View misrepresented the stances of Billy Palmer and City Councilman Andrew Johnston. The West View apologizes for this error.

Over 100 residents attended the Glendale Community Council meeting at the Glendale Library on Wednesday, January 20 expecting elections for the positions of Chair and First Vice Chair. Current First Vice Chair Jay Ingleby addressed the audience, claiming that both he and current Chair Randy Sorensen were elected in January of 2015 for two-year terms. He said that they were “tabling the elections this year.”

Ingleby and Sorensen have spent 16 out of the last 18 years as part of the Glendale Community Council, most of those years as the Chair and Vice Chair interchangeably. They have been passionate, hard working community leaders who have done what they felt was best for the community. At the same time, some residents have felt unwelcome at meetings and want more diverse participation and representation in the council.

Many understood that an election was required for the January 2016 meeting because according to bylaws the positions of Chair and Vice Chair are to be conducted in even- numbered years. Several residents referred to their copies of the 2004 bylaws as they argued for the election to proceed. Sorensen and Ingleby opposed those arguments by relying upon bylaws filed with the City Recorder within a week of the meeting. There was a lot of confusion at the meeting, stemming from reference to different bylaws.

During the middle of the meeting, a motion was made by resident Ray Wheeler to hold an immediate election. Resident Michael Clara pointed out that since the elections were not announced on the agenda, they might violate the state’s open meetings laws. The original motion was then changed to petition the council to have a special meeting to hold elections, after notice could be given to the community. Over 15 Glendale residents signed the petition to the council requesting to hold elections before the end of January.

Several members of the audience questioned when and how the new bylaws were established and asked how to find minutes of the Glendale Community Council meetings. No direct response was given. However, other members of the audience expressed support for Sorensen and Ingleby, noting their hard work for the community, and expressed disinterest in pursuing the election issue further. Glendale resident Billy Palmer acknowledged the hard work and years of service given by Sorensen and Ingleby, and called for all sides to come together to the table to talk civilly about any possible changes in leadership. City Councilman Andrew Johnston remained neutral and expressed that the city was not as closely tied to community councils as they once were.

According to the City Recorder’s Office the new bylaws in question appeared to have been submitted in draft form and that a replacement document was needed and requested. Recent staffing changes in the city may slow resolution of the problem, and may involve review by the Salt Lake City Attorney’s Office. However, as of the press time of this issue of The West View the 2004 bylaws are the most recently received, correctly filed documents in the possession of the Recorder’s Office.

Editor’s note: On January 28, Sorensen formally resigned as Chair. While residents of the Glendale neighborhood (from I-15 to the western city limits, and between 900 South and 2100 South) should be aware of a possible election for the Glendale Community Council Board in the near future, it has not been possible for The West View to confirm an election date prior to press time. Check our website at www.westviewmedia.org and West View Media Facebook page for updates.