Monticello City Councilman Monte Wells erupted in a tirade at the November 10 City Council meeting after hearing a complaint from a city employee.
Chief of Police Kent Adair had approached the council with concerns about an online post on Well’s website, The Petroglyph. The post said Adair lied to the council in an August 12 meeting. The post includes a video of portions of the August 12 meeting.
“I’m here basically to protect my good name,” said Adair. “I have worked for the city for 33 years, and there is nothing in my file, whatsoever. For a City Councilman to publicly accuse me of lying is beyond the scope of the city council.”
Later, Adair said, “I don’t feel that it is right for a city councilperson to do that to an employee without some kind of due process. There was no due process.”
Adair provided a transcript of the August 12 meeting, explained his statements at the meeting, and encouraged the city council members to look at the video. He added, “I think that you will see that I am being slandered.”
After Adair outlined his concerns, Wells defended his post, “In my defense, I know you are going to say that I am full of s*** and that is fine. But the video says what it says. I was here.”
Wells was not a member of the council in August but was appointed to the council last month.
Adair had met with the council for at least 45 minutes at the August 12 meeting in a wide-ranging conversation that covered a host of issues related to the city police department.
Wells stated in his blog post that Adair lied during a brief exchange about certification. Wells said Adair was telling the council, falsely, that he is certified to operate a radar gun.
Adair said to the council on November 10 that he does not have the certification and he did not lie. “I have never in my career told anyone that I have that training,” he added.
Adair provided minutes of a September 10, 2013 city council meeting that state “Chief Adair said he has never been radar certified.”
“Why would I propose that I am radar certified when I have already, in a city council meeting, said that I wasn’t certified?” continued Adair. “I have never been radar certified. When I went through the Academy in 1977, they did not have radar certification. …POST does not require radar.”
The August 12 exchange that was the focus of the accusation started when Mayor Tim Young asked Adair, “All your officers are up to date on your certifications?”
Adair replied, “Yes.”
Later, Councilman George Rice asked, “So everyone has radar, firearms and intoxilizer, all three, everyone has those?”
Adair replied, “Yes.”
Wells claims that Adair was telling the council that all three officers, including Adair, were certified.
Adair said the question was if his officers had all three of the certifications. “All of my officers have all three certifications,” said Adair.
Wells’ perspective was that Adair was lying. He stated in another portion of the meeting that on August 12, “George asked you specifically if you and your two officers had that certification and you answered affirmatively.”
Adair said that only three people during his career, all current or recent members of the city council, have expressed concern about the radar certification. “Never has an attorney asked me about it, never has a judge asked me about it, never has a defendant asked me about it,” said Adair.
“It has never come up. And I didn’t want to spend the time and money to go do it. I figured it was a waste of money. …I don’t think they are going to teach me anything I don’t already know about radar.”
Adair notified the council that in September, he reserved a spot in a training seminar in radar certification.
Councilman George Rice said, “You would be surprised at how many members of the community this bothers.”
When Adair asked what bothers community members, Rice said, “Because you can’t write a speeding ticket if you are not certified.”
Adair said that is not true because the State of Utah does not require officers to be radar certified.
The conversation deteriorated even further from there, with Wells defending his website.
“We don’t have a news source in Monticello worth a crap and so I am it and I put out what I want to put out,” said Wells. “I’m sorry you don’t like it, but that is the way it is.”
Adair responded, “I don’t dislike the Petroglyph, I’m saying that you quoted me wrong.”
“I disagree,” said Wells.
Kim Henderson, a city resident who had walked in for another portion of the meeting, asked to speak and stated, “It seems very, very inappropriate to address anybody in that manner when you are in an elected position. If you can’t control your tongue, maybe you ought to not be in the position.”
After a closed session at the November 10 meeting, the City of Monticello announced it is initiating a process to fill the open position of city manager. Prior City Manager Greg Westfall resigned his position on October 22.
The interim city manager is Oliver Crane, who is currently working as the city recreation director, the assistant city manager and the interim city manager.
A job description will be posted, and the hiring process will begin immediately. City officials state that the goal is to name a new city manager by mid-December.
The council approved a home occupation application for a business license for Black Oil at 345 Uranium Drive.
Councilman Scott Frost was appointed Mayor Pro tempore, approved by a unanimous vote with Frost abstaining from the vote.
(Roma Young contributed portions of this article.)