The Republican candidate challenging Ben McAdams in the race for Salt Lake County Mayor has levied some harsh allegations against the incumbent, questioning his management of the Mountain Accord.
Mountain Accord is a group of public and private entities with a mission to preserve the Central Wasatch Mountains. As County Mayor, Ben McAdams chairs the group’s executive committee.
Republican Dave Robinson is challenging McAdams in the county mayoral race. He’s alleging that Mountain Accord has consistently violated public meetings laws and that McAdams has used the Accord to engage in pay-to-play politics.
“What I am looking at is specifically the paper trail,” Robinson said on Wednesday. “And the paper trail is showing money going out of taxpayer money, money going to specific lobbyists, and money coming into the Ben McAdams re-election campaign.”
Robinson has also accused Mountain Accord of violating the Open and Public Meetings Act (OPMA). There are conflicting opinions about whether the group actually is subject to that law. McAdams and Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill say it is not. The State Auditor’s Office says it is. A group connected to Robinson has filed a lawsuit in Third District Court to determine whether it is subject to OPMA.
Mountain Accord has also maintained that it is not required to hold open meetings but it has posted notice of upcoming meetings and notes of past meetings. Robinson says that’s beside the point.
“They were not made public,” he says. “There were not minutes of the meetings. There are not recordings. Just because someone says, ‘well we posted a couple of them on our website,’ does not mean that they are complying with it. They are in clear violation of the Open and Public Meetings Act.”
McAdams released a statement that calls Robinson’s allegations absurd and baseless. In it he says, “I’m proud of the hard work from a bipartisan group of elected officials…and thousands of comments from the public resulting in the consensus-based Mt. Accord plan.”