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W. Jordan Council to release probe reports

WEST JORDAN -- After months of debate the City Council has agreed to release the reports of three investigations of two city employees and a council member.

The council, which has held numerous closed sessions to discuss the probes and debate whether they should be made public, emerged from still another closed session Tuesday night and voted 4-1 to release the documents.Included are investigations into the conduct of Assistant City Manager Penny Atkinson, Fleet Manager Gordon Ryan and Councilman David Plouzek.

That decision will allow the city to fulfill several requests for the reports made under the provisions of the state's Government Records Access Management Act by the Deseret News, the Salt Lake Tribune and some residents.

However, before the documents are finally released, the council has instructed City Attorney Greg Curtis to edit the reports and eliminate the names of people who are not subject to the investigation.

Curtis said he expects to complete the editing of the reports by Friday or over the weekend.

Council members agreed to hire a private investigator last fall to determine whether Atkinson had directed Ryan to pressure Young Chevrolet of Layton into making a $1,000 donation to the South Valley Sanctuary after the car dealership had already turned her down.

Atkinson, who has chaired the sanctuary board of directors, also was the primary fund raiser for the woman's shelter. She denied telling Ryan to pressure Young Chevrolet for the donation.

Ryan, who made the allegation as part of a formal grievance against Atkinson, was subsequently investigated by West Jordan police to determine whether he had used a city computer to write novels.

The fleet manager, who acknowledged using the computer but said he did so on his own time with the approval of his superiors, was subsequently given 10 days off without pay.

Council members also hired a private investigator last December into allegations Plouzek had misused his council authority to benefit himself and his family.

The investigator determined Plouzek had not broken any laws but may have exercised questionable judgment in a couple of cases.

Plouzek, who said last week he would probably choose to make his report public even if the council decided not to release the other probes, apparently changed his mind and cast the only vote Tuesday night opposing the release.

Councilman Gordon Haight said he would support releasing the reports as long as the disclosures did not harm anyone peripheral to the investigations.

"My concern is that we don't want any city employees to get hurt," he explained after the council meeting.