SANDY, Utah — A memo authored by two city council staff employes sparked a heated debate at the Sandy City Council meeting, Tuesday.
The memo accused the mayor’s office of excluding the council and its staff from an “All Departments” e-mail list.
“I did feel like it was a little bit of an attack,” said Dustin Fratto who co-authored the memo.
“This is an issue of principle,” said Pam Lehman, who joined Fratto in writing the memo. “It will and could pose a threat to us.”
Mayor Kurt Bradburn admitted it was his decision to remove council members from the list because he was looking at ways to better connect, rather than filling their inboxes with dozens of e-mails each day. He claimed he didn’t mean to exclude their staff members.
Bradburn was grilled by council chairwoman Kristin Coleman-Nicholl.
“Who decided our e-mail was too cluttered,” Nicholl asked.
“That was my decision,” Bradburn replied. “It was never my intent to keep you in the dark.”
Bradburn questioned why the issue was brought up in such a public forum. He argued, it could have been taken care of easily with a phone call.
But some members of the council viewed the exclusion as an attempt to keep them from receiving important information.
“This is extremely distressing to me,” Nicholl said. “It’s not up to you which e-mails I receive.”
Bradburn countered with an accusation that some council members leaked private information about select city employees during Sandy’s water crisis earlier this month.
“You’ll forgive me if I am a little tentative about the information I give you,” Bradburn said. “I am sorry if I am a little sensitive about what I give you right now, Councilmember Nicholl.”
Some members of the council voiced their frustration that what seemed like a simple issue was forced to be resolved at a council meeting.
“This is sad,” Councilmember Linda Martinez Saville said. “If we would just communicate, none of this would be happening.”
Mayor Bradburn agreed the line of communication between the executive and legislative branches of the city’s government is broken.
“It’s never just one person’s fault, we can both do better,” Bradburn said.
The bickering is the latest stain on the Sandy city government as it tries to regain the public’s trust. City leaders have come under fire recently for their response to learning some residents were exposed to contaminated drinking water.
“Again, I am back here at the table saying, I’m sorry,” Bradburn said. “I want to work on this, but it is going to take all of us.”
Bradburn said as soon as he learned of the concerns regarding the e-mail list, he added the council and its staff back to the "All Departments" list.