Monticello City in full-blown crisis mode related to personnel issues
Jan 23, 2008 | 691 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The City of Monticello is in full-blown crisis mode, driven in large part by the fact that city manager Trent Schafer has not worked in more than a month. After a vacation in mid-December, Schafer was put on paid administrative leave by the City Council.

City officials said that they wanted to complete an audit of city finances before Schafer was allowed to return to work. Mayor Doug Allen reports that a team of auditors from the State of Utah received written records and other information on January 2. They completed a three-day visit to city offices in the past week.

Allen reports that while a formal report of their findings will not be available for several weeks, the audit team shared the bulk of their findings with city officials after the on-site visit.

The Monticello City Council is scheduled to meet in executive session for 90 minutes before the January 23 council meeting. Mayor Allen reports that an action item on the executive session will take place at approximately 6:45 p.m.

The City goes through an annual audit each year. The audit is conducted by a private firm. The recent investigative audit is the first by a state office.

Allen reports that the state auditors uncovered a series of issues that had not been reported by (and would not have been the focus of) the annual audit. “I wish I knew then what I know now,” said Allen.

Allen characterized the state audit team as a “hot line” team that conducts special request audits for state and local government organizations.

Mayor Allen said that he is not aware of any pending criminal charges related to the investigation.

City government is in a state of flux with the November 15 departure of assistant city manager Greg Martin. Martin took a new job as city manager in St. Johns, Arizona.

Schafer, who has been the Monticello City Manager since 1994, has not been to work since mid-December. Mayor Allen said that the reason that the investigation has taken one month to complete is because of legal advice and the desire to ensure that the investigation was fair for all parties.

City public works director Nathan Langston announced his resignation in late November. Mayor Allen reports that Langston has agreed to continue his employment with the city for the next three months.

In addition, the Hideout Golf Club is operating without a director of golf. Prior director Jim Robison, who has served for the past two years as director of golf and course superintendent, will be the superintendent only in 2008.

City Recorder Cindi Holyoak and Debbie Rush have been swamped with work at the city office. While Mayor Allen has been spending several hours a day at the city office, the lack of key personnel has resulted in inevitable problems.

In addition to seeking personnel for the open positions, the city is facing a host of issues, including completion of the city water collection system, landscaping at the visitor center, construction of a new public works building, and construction of a pavilion and recreation areas at the Veterans Memorial Park.

The city also faces financial pressure related to the loss of a .5 percent resort community sales tax which has generated up to $90,000 per year for city coffers. The city no longer qualifies for the sales tax as the result of a decrease in the size of the local tourist trade.
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