The Lynn Beeley situation in Mt. Pleasant could have been handled sooner, more effectively and more confidentially if the city had a city manager.
Mt. Pleasant is certainly large enough and has enough employees to justify following the lead of Fairview, Ephraim, Manti and Gunnison and bringing aboard a trained, experienced top-level manager.
The airing of a lot of dirty laundry about multiple public employees, as happened in the last Mt. Pleasant City Council meeting, is not the way to handle employee discipline.
The meeting on Aug. 23 was supposed to be a hearing in which Councilman Lynn Beasley was appealing his termination as a full-time employee in the Public Works Department. Beasley requested that the hearing be open.
But Beasley’s allegations against his supervisor, Colter Allan, and Allan’s complaints about him, weren’t the only topics that came up that night.
(As an aside, we have to wonder if Beasley’s motive in running for city council in the first place was to have a forum to complain about his boss or possibly get his boss fired.)
In the public comment period that preceded the hearing, we heard that one employee was home-schooling children at city hall during work hours and that another employee drove a city vehicle to his child’s out-of-county sports event.
The city council should be a policy making body. Employee evaluation and discipline should be handled confidentially by a top city manager, the direct supervisor of the employee in question and the human resource office. These are people with first-hand knowledge of the work situation.
And if a member of the public observes a public employee misusing public property or not attending to his or her job, the citizen should report the problem to the employee’s supervisor.
It’s too much to expect a part-time mayor who has another full-time job to handle all the personnel, law enforcement, financial and infrastructure issues in a city the size of Mt. Pleasant.
We look forward to the city council adopting an ordinance that conforms to state law defining the membership of an employment appeals panel. The panel should not be the city council.
We’ve already said the city should have a policy that prohibits a full-time employee from simultaneously sitting on the city council. We look forward to council adoption of such a policy.
During the Beasley hearing, Kevin Daniels, the Mt. Pleasant city attorney, cited a state law that says a city council member who has a conflict of interest regarding a matter coming before the council must disclose the conflict before voting. Beasley did that.
State law does not require a city council member who acknowledges a conflict of interest to refrain from voting on the issue. But in a situation as glaring as a city council member appealing his own termination from city employment, ethics and common sense do demand recusal from voting.
So it’s disappointing to learn that fol- lowing the Aug. 23 hearing, five secret ballots were cast, signifying that all five city council members, including Councilman Beasley himself, voted on the Beasley termination.
If an astute city manager had been in place, it’s doubtful Beesley would have been sitting on the city council. If it was, he would no longer have been working for the city. That’s because the city manager would have made sure a policy was in place preventing such an inherent conflict.