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Herriman City Council fires Brett Wood as city manager, declines to state why

Wood not let go over criminal behavior or misconduct
Posted at 10:50 AM, Oct 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-02 22:08:55-04

HERRIMAN CITY, Utah — The Herriman City Council has fired city manager Brett Wood during a closed-session meeting that went into the late hours of the night on Wednesday.

Wood spent 10 years in the position.

City employees told FOX 13 they did not know why members of the council chose to remove Wood from the position he had held since 2010.

Only members of the city council, the city attorney, and Wood attended the private meeting.

City spokeswoman Tami Moody said the only information made public to her so far indicates Wood was not let go for "any sort of criminal activity or misconduct."

"We know our public’s minds are going to go to the worst possible scenario," Moody said. "I don't want anything to mislead that it is anything of that nature."

Moody said some city employees would often affectionately refer to Wood as "Mr. Herriman" because of his generous spirit and tenure with the city.

According to the Herriman City website, Wood served on the city's first council after incorporation in 1999. He served on the council until he resigned in 2003 to work full-time for the city.

"With that many years of service, Brett Wood has a lot of relationships throughout the city, so staff are definitely somber at this time," Moody said. "Ultimately our goal is just to continue with city business and providing the best service that Herriman is known to provide."

According to a published meeting agenda, members of the city council also discussed the "Creek Ridge, Mountain Ridge and Automall Developments" before going into closed session to "discuss the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual and the purchase, exchange, or lease of real property, as provided by Utah Code Annotated §52-4-205."

Prior to the closed-door meeting, members of the city council publicly argued whether it would be appropriate to privately discuss Wood's conduct.

"We have gone into closed session without a freaking clue about why we’re going into session every single time since I have been elected!" yelled Councilman Steven Shields. "That is absolute absurdity!"

During the public portion of the meeting, Wood said he would be willing to go into closed session to "get things off our chest."

"It is wearing on all the staff," Wood said. "It’s not healthy for us as a city, us as an organization, and our culture here in Herriman... They're not happy about our leadership."

"How can I go in there and have a discussion when I’m not prepared for it, and how can I help protect and give our employees a good place to work if I’m willing to go in there without specificity of what it is?" asked Councilman Clint Smith. "I’ve got our city manager here, who I respect, and who knows that it’s weighing on him. If his desire is to go (into closed session), I will be supportive because it’s his request."

It's unclear which members of the city council voted to terminate Wood. He has not yet returned a FOX 13 request to comment.

Assistant city manager Wendy Thomas has been named as the interim city manager.