KAYSVILLE — The Kaysville City Council unanimously censured Mayor Katie Witt during Thursday’s city council meeting, but only after voting to remove the call for her resignation.
The council chose to censure Witt for her support of a protest concert that was scheduled in Kaysville despite COVID-19 restrictions and for her personal attacks of council members in the media.
Councilman Mike Blackham broke away from the council saying he supported the censure, but that he wasn’t ready to call for Witt’s resignation. He asked for the call for resignation to be separated from the motion to censure Witt, and the council ultimately voted to remove the resignation request.
Councilwoman Tamara Tran and Councilwoman Michelle Barber said the council had hoped to move forward and put Witt’s behavior behind them. However, they became increasingly frustrated as Witt doubled down on her support of the concert and her attacks on the council in the media, leading to the censure.
The concert with country artist Collin Raye was organized by Eric Moutsos and the group Utah Business Revival, and has been billed as a support for Utah businesses and a protest of COVID-19 restrictions.
After the motion passed, Witt thanked her supporters and asked her friends who came to support her to make room for Kaysville residents.
Several people got up to express their support for Witt and her decision to hold the concert — which was ultimately not held but has twice been rescheduled in other counties — while condemning the council for their actions.
Conversely, others criticized Witt for her actions and praised the council, while arguing that the mayor’s actions were indeed political.
Every member of the City Council reproached Witt for accusing them of not defending the Constitution in a campaign radio ad, with each one saying they took offense to her statement.
The resolution to censure Witt says her endorsement of the concert contradicted existing Kaysville city policies, and that she might have violated the Utah Public Officers’ and Employees’ Ethics Act.
Members of the council insisted their decision was never about the concert, but about Witt not following proper procedures for hosting large gatherings. They also criticized her for trying to steamroll the council by telling them not to worry about the concert, and for her making the decision without consulting them.
“You say you did not break the law. The proper legal authorities will determine if any laws were broken and the necessary consequences. But of equal if not more importance, your approach to this event was a breach of our own Kaysville City Code of Conduct. As outlined in the code, we as elected offices are to first, ‘work for the common good of the people of Kaysville and not for any private or personal interest,’” the letter of censure said.
The letter goes on to say that Witt’s support of the concert was “inherently tied to your congressional campaign, a private and personal interest.”
The concert was subsequently moved to Grantsville after being chased out of Kaysville. Tooele County then shut down the concert venue because the organizers hadn’t filed the proper permitting paperwork and because it created a public health concern. It is now heading to unincorporated Iron County.