After a county resident stated that state law doesn’t allow such an action, Grayeyes responded, “The law can be contested.”

San Juan Record

Utah open meeting laws ignored in county administrator hiring decision
David Everitt has been hired as the interim county administrator for San Juan County after an action at the May 7 County Commission meeting that is in apparent violation of Utah open meetings law.With a 2-1 vote, Everitt was extended a contract that will reimburse him $5,763 every two weeks with a requirement that he spend at least two days a week on site in Monticello.

Everitt will fill in for Kelly Pehrson, who resigned as county administrator on April 25 to accept a position as the Deputy Director of the Utah Department of Agriculture.

On May 1, Pehrson started his new position. The new job is based in Salt Lake City.

Pehrson signaled a willingness to help San Juan County through the transition process of finding a new administrator, but he was not in attendance at the May 7 Commission meeting.

While the contract with Everitt was a discussion item on the work meeting agenda, it was not listed as an action item on the regular Commission meeting agenda.

Under Utah open meetings law, an item must be posted as an action item in order to be approved.

During the work session, Commissioner Willie Grayeyes asked to address the issue as an action item.

“What I am trying to do is to move this to an action item for today,” said Grayeys. “On an interim basis, there should be no question about it.”

After a county resident stated that state law doesn’t allow such an action, Grayeyes responded, “The law can be contested.”

Despite the concern, Commissioners approved the contract by a 2-1 vote, with Commissioner Bruce Adams opposing. 

Adams said, “This is a process, that in my opinion, verges on illegal.”

There was an uproar over the process to hire Everitt, with pointed questions from Commissioner Adams.

“I would have liked to visit with Mr. Everritt before now,” said Adams. “How did he apply? Where did he hear about this?”

Adams outlined the San Juan County policy to fill such a position through the Human Resources department. Adams said the process would include advertising the position, forming a selection committee that would interview prospective candidates, and making a hiring recommendation to the Commissioners.

“Lets go through the process and if he is selected, I would welcome him with open arms,” said Adams. “As it was, I was left out of the process.”

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