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PROVO COUNCIL DISPUTES REPORT THAT FEST’S BOARD BREAKS LAWS

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A Provo resident told the City Council on Tuesday night that the Freedom Festival's governing board is not operating in accordance with city ordinances, but most council members said they are happy with the way the board is being run.

Shari Holweg, an employee in the city's Energy Department and a write-in candidate for mayor, said she recently received three or four calls from residents concerned about the festival's operation. Holweg said city ordinance states a "board" will oversee the festival, but it is being run by an "executive committee."Also, Holweg said that while the ordinance requires the board's president and the festival chairman be Provo residents appointed annually, the positions have been held simultaneously for the past three years by one person who is not a resident.

"The ordinance is consistent with state law," Holweg said. "The way the Freedom Festival has been operating in the past three years has not been consistent with state law. . . . The question is whether city ordinances should be binding to the mayor. The fact is we have a law on the books and it is not being followed."

Councilwoman Barbara Smith said the council would ask the city attorney to review the ordinance and the board's operation but said "things have been going so smoothly we haven't worried about the way it has been operating."

Mayor Joe Jenkins said calling the governing body a "board" or "executive committee" is a matter of semantics that does not affect its operation.

Jenkins said that while the previous board president and festival chairman did not live in Provo, the individual owned property in the city and had been raised there; inclusion of individuals on the board who do not live in the city is appropriate, Jenkins said after the meeting, because the festival "is more than just a Provo City celebration."

Jenkins said John Aldrich, Orem, has been chosen as the 1990 festival chairman.

Councilman Ron Last said the concept of the festival had broadened since its inception and the festival ordinance probably will be revised to allow non-Provo residents to sit on the board.

Jenkins said revisions to the ordinance are on hold but they will focus on providing continuity in governance of the festival by establishing a hierarchical succession to the position of board president. Also, the size of the board will be set at nine members.

Councilman Ben Porter said he "didn't appreciate having to call a guy in Murray or Sandy to be turned down to ride in the (festival) parade." Porter said had been denied permission to ride in the parade twice in four years.

In response to questioning by Holweg, two council members - Last and Gordon Bullock - said they were aware the festival board was operating contrary to provisions in the ordinance; Porter and Smith said they were not.