LAYTON — A Layton councilman and former Salt Lake City director of 911 who garnered statewide attention last year after he was arrested for drunken driving has been picked to serve as Layton's mayor.
The Layton City Council voted to tap Scott Freitag, 49, over four other candidates in a special meeting Tuesday night to replace former Layton Mayor Bob Stevenson, who recently resigned to serve on the Davis County Commission.
Freitag, whom Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski fired from his job as director of the city's 911 dispatch center, will now serve as Layton's mayor through the end of 2019 until voters decide in the next election who will serve out the remainder of Stevenson's term, through the end of 2021.
In an anonymous vote in a public meeting Tuesday night, Freitag's colleagues on the City Council voted 3 to 5 to pick Freitag, Layton City Recorder Kimberly Read confirmed to KSL Wednesday.
Because it was a secret vote (tallies were taken by paper), Read said she didn't know which council members voted for Freitag. He was chosen over two other City Council members vying for the seat — Joyce Brown and Joy Petro — as well as over hopefuls Jackie Malan and Remmy Knowlton.
When Centerville police arrested Freitag on Jan. 3, 2018, he was driving a Salt Lake City Corp. vehicle at 1:30 p.m., and his blood alcohol content was .214 percent — more than 2 ½ times the .08 legal limit, according to police. He later pleaded guilty to driving under the influence, a class B misdemeanor, and was sentenced to three days in jail and 72 hours of community service.
In exchange for his plea, prosecutors dropped two other misdemeanor charges against him: having an open container in a car and carrying a firearm while under the influence.
At the time of his drunken driving arrest in January 2018, Freitag told the Deseret News he "made a mistake" and was "dealing with the consequences."
Freitag didn't respond to a request for comment about his appointment Wednesday. But in his bio on the Layton website, Freitag pledged to "promote the vitality of our city" as well as champion public safety and parks and recreation.
"I have always strived to listen to every suggestion and opinion," his bio states. "I truly enjoy hearing from the residents of Layton. Every voice is important.
Biskupski fired him from his position at Salt Lake City saying, "There is no acceptable reason for anyone to put innocent lives in danger by getting behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated, especially an individual leading a critical public safety agency."
However, while Biskupski said she was "angry and disappointed," she hoped Freitag would get "help to address his problems" and find "the support of loved ones that he needs at this time."
At the time Freitag pleaded guilty, he told the Standard-Examiner in an email he regretted the DUI.
“I made a very bad choice in January and have … taken every effort to prevent that from ever happening again,” Freitag wrote, while noting he had received support from Stevenson and other city officials at the time. “I am very sorry for the mistake I have made and for all of those that I have let down. I plead guilty today because I believe in taking full responsibility for my actions.”
Freitag is currently in the midst of his third term on the Layton City Council. He was first elected in 2007 and was re-elected in 2011 and 2015.
The Layton City Council must now pick a replacement for Freitag on the council.