Deseret News

Cedar Highlands mayor suddenly resigns, cites 'foolish' town council as reason for leaving

By Cara MacDonald, | Posted - Jul 12th, 2019 @ 11:45am

CEDAR HIGHLANDS — Cedar Highlands Mayor Steven C. Swann announced his sudden resignation in late June, citing the recently emerged town council being “rogue” and “foolish” as his primary reason for leaving.

On June 28, Swann sent his formal resignation letter out to the Cedar Highlands community, a town in Iron County formed in January 2018. He cited a lack of forward momentum for the community and a city council making poor decisions as his primary reasons for leaving.

The small community is nestled into forested mountains near Cedar City and was the first new town to incorporate in Iron County in more than four decades.

Swann explained in his resignation letter that he was glad to play a part in bringing Cedar Highlands into existence and acknowledged: “Much has been accomplished in the last several years. Our roads are now being improved, we have more funds to utilize for fire safety and we have received a grant to improve our dangerous access road ages.”

Despite that, Swann’s letter notes that he can no longer be effective or “condone the actions of, or work with, a rogue town council that continually, foolishly and ignorantly rejects and ignores sound legal and business counsel and training,” he wrote. “The council is too influenced by external voices who are new to the area and its culture, and are seeking to reverse the incorporation and keep others out by suppressing meaningful progress.”

Swann cited a decision made by the city council to remove the town’s legal and administration budgets in favor of volunteer counsel, according to the letter. Swann said they are placing the town in a “risky operational and legal situation” that may lead to significant complications.

The financial concerns did not arrive in a vacuum — the town was audited by Seth Oveson, the local government supervisor, in April and was cited for multiple violations. All of the requests for action involved corrections to accounting, financials, records and policy, according to the audit.

Members of the Cedar Highlands City Council were contacted but did not respond for comment on Swann’s departure or the audit.

Despite his desire to no longer be an administrative official, Swann added that Cedar Highlands is a “beautiful community with many wonderful people and amazing vistas and scenery.”

Cedar Highlands is now accepting applications for mayor to serve the rest of Swann’s term.

Cara MacDonald

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