Eagle Mtn. Mayor Will Stay in Office

Eagle Mtn. Mayor Will Stay in Office

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EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Utah (AP) -- Mayor Kelvin Bailey, who faces charges for his made-up story of being abducted, has announced he will not step down but instead will complete the last two years of his term.

Bailey, 47, faces a misdemeanor charge of giving false reports to law enforcement officers.

After failing to return from a hunting trip on March 27, Bailey phoned his wife and said he had been carjacked and forced to drive 500 miles to Barstow, Calif.

His wife contacted authorities. Within hours, Bailey admitted to FBI agents and Utah County sheriff's officers that he had made up the story to explain leaving the area to get away from stress and challenges in his business and personal life.

On Monday, Bailey issued a statement saying he wanted to help maintain the progress the city has made and he hoped that residents would learn to trust him again.

"Thanks to the kind and overwhelming support of the people of our community. I would like to make it perfectly clear that I will remain at my post as mayor of Eagle Mountain," he said. "We have made great progress over the past 15 months and we will continue to do so."

Bailey told The Salt Lake Tribune that when he disappeared, he really did drive to Barstow. He declined to provide details about his trip, and also declined to talk about the criminal charge.

Bailey said he is going to lighten his load, and will delegate more tasks to staff and City Council members.

That was news to Councilman Brigham Morgan, who said he has had no communication with Bailey for two weeks.

"I'm a little disappointed and I'm concerned about the credibility of the council, the mayor and the decisions we make," said Morgan, adding that many residents have asked that the council take a "no confidence" vote in the mayor.

Councilman Greg Kehl, who has been filling in for Bailey, said stress has not been an issue for him during his stint as the town's chief executive.

"Things have run as smooth as glass," he said. "We've dealt with every issue that has come up. The staff has done a fantastic job. We haven't missed a beat."

Kehl said, "I don't have any desire for him to be miserable, but I'm disappointed he wouldn't step down for the good of his family. Now there always will be a little question about his integrity -- and that's unfortunate."

Council members Linn Strouse and Mark Madsen supported Bailey's decision to remain mayor.

Madsen said the city will be better off with Bailey on the job.

"It's no surprise those who have historically and politically been opposed to Kelvin are disappointed he is going to stay," Madsen said. "A lot of people would like to undo the results of the last election."

Strouse said Bailey's "outstanding accomplishments are a matter of public record. My chief concern is what's best for Eagle Mountain and keep the present mayor in office."

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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