Blog: Should EM pass an ordinance to allow elected officials to accept gifts or loans from developers?

I am sure that I know the answer to this question, but I want to ask the question anyway.

Should Eagle Mountain pass an ordinance that would allow elected officials to accept gifts or loans larger than $50 from developers or anyone else conducting business in the city? Should there be an exception to allow for financial distress of the elected official?

This seems absurd to me and to others that I have spoken with.

However, former Councilwoman Linn Strouse had charges dropped against her even though pretty much everyone accepts that she accepted a gift (or loan) for $10,000 and did not report it. She was able to re-pay $7,500 of a $10,000 gift (or loan). She had many people that defended her and still do including at least former mayors and 2 former council members. There were over 500 people that voted for her in her unsuccessful bid for re-election, despite pending charges against her. That means that there is a significant portion of Eagle Mountain residents that consider it acceptable for elected officials to accept money from developers or individuals conducting business in Eagle Mountain.

If we have laws on the books that that are not what people want or that are not being enforced, these laws need to be repealed and replaced with laws that the voters want and that will be enforced.

Please take the survey on and let your opinion be heard.

Below are current state laws:

10-3-1304. Use of office for personal benefit prohibited.

(1) As used in this section, "economic benefit tantamount to a gift" includes:

(a) a loan at an interest rate that is substantially lower than the commercial rate then currently prevalent for similar loans; and

(b) compensation received for private services rendered at a rate substantially exceeding the fair market value of the services.

(2) It is an offense for an elected or appointed officer or municipal employee, under circumstances not amounting to a violation of Section 63-56-1001 or 76-8-105, to:

(a) disclose or improperly use private, controlled, or protected information acquired by reason of his official position or in the course of official duties in order to further substantially the officer's or employee's personal economic interest or to secure special privileges or exemptions for himself or others;

(b) use or attempt to use his official position to:

(i) further substantially the officer's or employee's personal economic interest; or

(ii) secure special privileges for himself or others; or

(c) knowingly receive, accept, take, seek, or solicit, directly or indirectly, for himself or another a gift of substantial value or a substantial economic benefit tantamount to a gift that:

(i) would tend improperly to influence a reasonable person in the person's position to depart from the faithful and impartial discharge of the person's public duties; or

(ii) the person knows or that a reasonable person in that position should know under the circumstances is primarily for the purpose of rewarding the person for official action taken.

(3) Subsection (2)(c) does not apply to:

(a) an occasional nonpecuniary gift having a value of less than $50;

(b) an award publicly presented in recognition of public services;

(c) any bona fide loan made in the ordinary course of business; or

(d) a political campaign contribution.

10-3-1308. Investment creating conflict of interest with duties -- Disclosure.

Any personal interest or investment by a municipal employee or by any elected or appointed official of a municipality which creates a conflict between the employee's or official's personal interests and his public duties shall be disclosed in open meeting to the members of the body in the manner required by Section 10-3-1306.

10-3-1310. Penalties for violation -- Dismissal from employment or removal from office.
In addition to any penalty contained in any other provision of law, any person who knowingly and intentionally violates this part, with the exception of Sections 10-3-1306, 10-3-1307, 10-3-1308, and 10-3-1309, shall be dismissed from employment or removed from office and is guilty of:

(1) a felony of the second degree if the total value of the compensation, conflict of interest, or assistance exceeds $1,000;

(2) a felony of the third degree if:

(a) the total value of the compensation, conflict of interest, or assistance is more than $250 but not more than $1,000; or

(b) the elected or appointed officer or municipal employee has been twice before convicted of violation of this chapter and the value of the conflict of interest, compensation, or assistance was $250 or less;

(3) a class A misdemeanor if the value of the compensation or assistance was more than $100 but does not exceed $250; or

(4) a class B misdemeanor if the value of the compensation or assistance was $100 or less.

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