CEDAR CITY – The Cedar City Council plans to reassess the city’s relationship with the Utah League of Cities and Towns tonight after a recent audit leveled allegations of misspending by the league’s former executive director.
A recent audit conducted by the Utah State Auditor’s Office led to the resignation of ULCT Executive Director Ken Bullock after accusations surfaced he had charged about $57,000 over four years to the league’s credit card. The money was used for various travel expenses while Bullock was traveling around the country watching his son play basketball, the audit states.
State Auditor John Dougall likened the expenses to a loan as Bullock had paid almost all of the money back, short of an estimated $11,000.
The report also questions another $130,000 of charges that lacked documentation showing they were for business purposes. A criminal investigation has been called for by the State Auditor’s Office.
Dougall blames the misspending on the ULCT board for not having proper oversight, an issue City Councilman Paul Cozzens said he’s not confident has yet been fixed.
ULCT is a taxpayer-funded group paid for by municipalities. Last year, Cedar City paid ULCT $18,500 in dues – more money than Cozzens said he is willing to spend again in 2017.
“I’m just not willing to pay out taxpayer’s money to an organization where I have to be concerned about where that money is going,” Cozzens said. “They need to get their books in order and I need to know that they have put in the proper oversight and then we can reevaluate this issue but at this time I am not comfortable with giving them anything.”
But Cozzens may have an uphill battle as his fellow council members are concerned of letting go of the relationship with the group they say provides the city with lobbying and advocacy services on capitol hill.
Councilwoman Terri Hartley said the council received a letter from St. George City Mayor Jon Pike, a ULCT board member, assuring them the problems had already been corrected. Hartley is one who is not interested in pulling out of ULCT but said she would like to have more assurances.
“The league provides a great service to the city and I don’t want to see us throw that away,” she said. “This issue needs more discussion and we’ll know more after we have an opportunity as a council to talk about it and have some of our questions answered.”
The issue is on the City Council’s agenda for tonight’s work meeting at 5:30 p.m. at the Cedar City Council Chambers located at 10 No. Main Street.
Other issues on the agenda include a discussion on donating property located south of Home Depot for a veteran’s cemetery.
The council will also be talking about traffic safety at 1150 West from Center to 200 North. Additionally, there will be a review of the proposed recommendation for the animal shelter architect and the city’s 2017-18 tentative budget.
Resource: ULCT State Audit
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