Former lawmaker fired from position as UEA lobbyist

Former lawmaker fired from position as UEA lobbyist

(Deseret News file)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Former Utah lawmaker Kory Holdaway has been dismissed for cause from his position as government relations director and associate executive director of the Utah Education Association.

In a letter addressed to UEA officials and obtained by KSL News, Holdaway's employment is said to have been terminated for just cause effective Monday following a period of negotiation with Holdaway that failed to yield an agreement.

"This is a sad day for the UEA," Tracey Watson, the association's director of legal services, writes in the letter. "The UEA acknowledges the work performed by Kory to build relationships and to advance the legislative priorities over the past four years. We worked hard to remediate performance issues and to act as a model union employer. We regret that we could not reach a more amicable resolution to this dispute."

Holdaway stepped down from the Utah House in 2009 to accept the position of government relations director. He previously worked as a special education teacher in the Granite School District.

Holdaway won't fight termination

On Monday, Holdaway said he does not intend to challenge his termination, though he believes he would have grounds to file a grievance.

"I have no desire to continue to work for them with the current leadership that is there," he said. "It’s sad that egos got in the way of what I think was good work that I was doing."

I have no desire to continue to work for them with the current leadership that is there (at the UEA). It's sad that egos got in the way of what I think was good work that I was doing.

–Kory Holdaway, former UEA lobbyist

According to Holdaway, his termination stems from what the UEA saw as unauthorized statements and appearances he made in the media. But he added that it was the contacts with policymakers and journalists that he made while serving in the Legislature that prompted the UEA to recruit him.

"They had asked me not to have any public comments on behalf of the association back in October," Holdaway said. "I had tried to avoid making comments to the press, but whenever I was asked a question, I didn’t want to dodge the questions either."

Speaking on behalf of the UEA, Policy and Research Director Jay Blain said the association regrets that Holdaway's termination was necessary but he could not comment further on the cause of the dismissal.

"As with any personnel action, the details are personal and confidential," Blain said.

Holdaway said he does not currently anticipate a return to politics, but he expects to continue to be a presence on Capitol Hill.

"I think likely what I’m going to do is I’m going to stay involved with education issues," he said. "I’ve been working on that for my whole career."

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Benjamin Wood


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