Mt. Pleasant institutes complaint
process for horse arena disputes
By James Tilson
Jan. 18, 2018
MT. PLEASANT—Six city officials were sworn in and a procedure to resolve complaints at the local horse arena was instituted in Mt. Pleasant.
Those sworn in on Tuesday, Jan. 9, during the Mt. Pleasant City Council meeting include Mayor Sandra Bigler, Councilman Justin Atkinson, Councilman Kevin Stallings, Chief of Police Jim Wilberg, City Treasurer Natalie Burnside and City Recorder Jane Banks.
The city council also passed a resolution during the meeting establishing a procedure to resolve complaints arising at the Cleone Peterson Eccles Equestrian Center/ConToy Arena.
The issue of complaints at the arena came about, according to Banks, because of “a group that would like to see [arena manager] Jack [Widdison] go.”
Apparently, members of the arena had made complaints about Widdison to the city in the past, although the complaints were found to be unsubstantiated.
The resolution established a Review Committee, comprised of the city’s mayor, ombudsman and the personnel director, along with a representative from Wasatch Academy and the chairman of the Community Development and Renewal Agency (CDRA) Executive Committee, to review formal written complaints.
The formal complaints have to be pertaining to the behavior of the manager or an employee of the arena, the failure of the manager or an employee to perform certain tasks or the actions of the manager or an employee.
Any complaint would have to filed within 10 days after the incident.
The complaint filed would then be reviewed by the Review Committee, which would take “appropriate steps toward resolution” by a majority vote. The committee could also recommend mediation by an outside agent.
The resolution had been offered to the city council in December but was tabled over concerns regarding the makeup of the Review Committee. The council wanted the city staff to look into adding a member to the committee to be selected by the membership of the arena.
When the resolution was brought back to the council this time, the city staff had not changed the wording of the resolution.
Recorder Banks explained to the council that a representative of the membership of the arena would not be able to be added to the committee. The committee had five members, which was necessary to avoid a tie vote.
Also, city staff felt that no one from the arena membership would be able to serve without bias. The members would either be in favor of the manager or against him and thus not able to judge his or his employees’ actions fairly.
Banks voiced another concern to the council regarding the complaints. Even though the city had found no error or wrongdoing by the arena manager, it had caused a great deal of consternation to the manager.
Banks worried that such accusations could result in the loss of the manager or other city employees. “Either you back your managers, or you can’t keep a manager on the job,” she said.
The city council approved the resolution unanimously.