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Defending a veto

Posted: Thursday, Apr 17th, 2014

A reporter at the Pinedale Roundup notified me of the letter from council members regarding my veto of the employee handbook. They did so based on the “aggressive tone and questionable claims” presented in the letter; I appreciate the courtesy and the chance to respond.

Wyoming statute authorizes the mayor to veto any resolution or ordinance of the town and provides a process for the council to override that veto. Executive sessions are also allowed by statute, and the governing body is not allowed to take action during such sessions. The fact that I vetoed the resolution during executive session is not an action of the governing body. The town attorney was present during that session and agrees that, in his opinion, the action was neither illegal nor improper. Councilman Matt Murdock was informed by the town attorney of this before submitting his letter. Furthermore, I instructed the town clerk to copy the vetoed resolution to the members of the council and I informed a reporter from the Roundup earlier this week of the veto. Statute states that the mayor has until the next meeting of the council to inform them of the veto. There is no conspiracy and I don’t like secrets.

My veto in executive session could indeed be considered highly unusual as it was the only time during my time as mayor that I have vetoed anything. I did so based on concerns brought to me by employees of the public works department regarding conflicting language in the handbook. I want the chance to review those new concerns.

In eight years of office I have never written a letter to the editor, and I am dismayed to find myself doing so now; there is much more important work to be done. But I understand that often such letters, even if invalidated, can subvert the truth and hurt reputations. If the members of the council feel strongly about this issue, there are procedures to follow and writing a letter to the editor is not one of them. It is however a quick and easy way to make someone who is doing the best he can look bad just before an election.

I am more than happy to answer any questions or discuss this further with anyone at any time.

For the complete article see the 04-18-2014 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 04-18-2014 paper.

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