Commission approves resolution supporting Lyman

by Roma Young
Before a packed room of approximately 100 supporters at the May 19 Commission meeting, the San Juan County Commission passed a resolution supporting the legal rights of Commissioner Phil Lyman.
Entitled “Resolution of the Board of Commissioners of San Juan County, Utah Supporting Commissioner Phil Lyman’s Right to Legal Due Process, and Effective Legal Representation,” the action is related to Lyman’s May 1 conviction in federal court on two misdemeanor charges related to the May, 2014 Recapture Canyon protest.
Commissioner Bruce Adams gave a brief explanation as to the reasoning behind the resolution. Adams said it is a necessary step to be taken to make it possible for Lyman to seek assistance for legal counsel, as well as funding from the Utah Constitutional Defense Fund.
Adams said he requested that Mark Ward, legal counsel for the Utah Association of Counties, draft the resolution. The resolution was read into the record by Commissioner Adams at the request of Commissioner Rebecca Benally.
Approximately 100 supporters of Lyman crowded the commission chambers in support of the resolution. The resolution passed by a 2-0 vote, with Lyman abstaining.
The resolution states that the Commission fully supports “Commissioner Phil Lyman’s right of due process and effective legal representation to fully defend and litigate all claims and charges brought against him in connection with the May 10, 2014 ride on the Recapture Canyon road.”
The resolution points out that Lyman “confined his ride to the length of the pipeline maintenance road”, and that “he urged others not to ride beyond” the maintenance road.
It also adds that “his ride did no damage to archaeological and other resources”, that he is “a public servant of good character and no prior criminal record” and that he “deserves good and effective legal representation.”
A full version of the resolution can be found at the San Juan Record website at and at the SJR Facebook page.
The crowd gave a standing ovation in support of the unanimous vote in favor of the resolution. Members of the public were invited to address the commission at that point.
Larry Wells had given a written statement to the county clerk to be entered in the meeting packet for the commissioners. Wells said, “I strongly support what has just happened to help you, but it is a day late and a dollar short. It does nothing to help Monte, Trent or Shane.”
Monte Wells was also convicted of the misdemeanor charges after a four-day trial, while Trent Holliday and Shane Marian were found not guilty.
Larry Wells added that he hopes the county will get aggressive in keeping this from happening again. He praised earlier commissioners Ty Lewis and Bill Redd for keeping roads open when his business depended on it.
Wells said, “we are letting it become federal land and not public land.”
Blanding City Councilman Joe B. Lyman also made a statement giving thanks at the conclusion for the supporting vote of the commission.
In other business at the May 19 Commission meeting, Bluff resident Gary Lichtenstein, representing a group pursuing water resource development in Bluff, came before the commission to request $2,300 to facilitate a second planning meeting on May 28. The residents of Bluff stepped up and pledged $5,700 toward the effort. The pledges came from individuals, as well as Bluff Water Works.
The county had previously given $5,000 for a facilitator for a first meeting. The Bluff Service District Board paid $800 for those expenses.
Commissioner Benally has participated in the process and said she would like to see it completed successfully. Commissioners approved the expenditure, saying they have an interest in protecting the water rights of the Bluff residents.
Bob Barry, director of the Soil Conservation Board, along with three members of his board, offered their help to the commission. The Soil Conservation Board is a subdivision of state government and the officers are elected to their positions.
Emery Mayor Mistie Christiansen, acting in her role as representative of the Five County Group, of which San Juan Soil Conservation is a member, assisted Barry with his presentation. She is excited about what the Soil Conservancy group can offer the county and what the county can offer county residents. Christiansen presented information on the lands use coordination process, which is available to each county.
An out-of-state travel request by Tourism Director Charlie DeLorme was approved for a staff member to receive training for social media uses in tourism. Money from his education budget will cover the expense.
Scott Christensen, of the Road Department, discussed the need to have a secure garage door installed on a county building which houses maintenance equipment. The equipment was recently moved from the Public Safety Building. A low bid of $1,978 was approved.
Adam Halliday was ratified as a heavy equipment operator for the road department. Danace Arthur was hired as the health educator for the public health department. MeLisa Slade will be hired for the Blanding Senior Center. Due to two resignations with the ambulance transport team, Kyle Palmer and Dexter Schires were approved for the positions. The health department position is the only new position.
County Attorney Kendall Laws requested that the county move forward to hire an assistant county attorney. The request was tabled.
A letter of support was signed by the commission to assist San Juan Health Care Services as they seek funding to purchase digital x-ray equipment at San Juan Hospital. The request said the equipment is needed to continue to provide excellent patient care.

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