The city's part-time city manager, who was hired by the city following a controversial attempt to disband the city's eight-member police department in April 2000, has resigned and will apparently get a city severance package.
The City Council is scheduled to take formal action on the matters at its Wednesday night meeting, including the naming of a new city administrator.
While three City Council members refused to comment on the resignation of Stan Kantor, Mayor Dean Allan said there was no pressure behind the resignation. Allan said Kantor has reached a point where he can now qualify for federal retirement benefits and has opted to leave city employment. Allan also said the severance package is intended as a reward for Kantor's good service. "The council feels like he deserves it," Allan said.
When he was hired, Kantor rejected the city's normal benefits package. Kantor did not return telephone calls from the Deseret News on Monday.
The three-years since the forced resignation of former police chief Bret Barney and the subsequent firing of his second in command, Chuck Senn for alleged insubordination, have been marked by intensified efforts to limit media access to city information. Limitations actually started in 1998 when newly elected mayor Richard Young banned city staffers from issuing press releases. The restrictions were heightened in May 2001 when Kantor ordered all press questions to come through him after then-city finance director Don Walker Sr. spoke to the press about an ongoing illegal fund surplus in the city. Young supported the gag order.
Walker quietly retired last fall.
Kantor, a retired California police officer, began his city service as acting police administrator following Barney's ouster. He was not allowed to carry a gun or have an official police title because he did not have Utah Police Officer Standards Training certification. He moved into the city administrator position in December 2000 when Keith Morey left to take the city manager job in South Jordan.
Kantor was a vocal participant in the heated controversy over whether the city should disband its police department and contract with the Utah County Sheriff's Office for police services. City Council members endured hours of harsh public criticism at a series of public hearings on the matter. The vitriolic outbursts and criticism lead one council member to resign. John Roylance, who made the motion to keep the police department, expressed disappointment over the verbal whipping residents gave the council as he tendered his resignation.
Kantor's initial administrator salary was set at no more than $55,230 annually. Morey had been receiving about $100,000. Some city residents objected to the hiring, questioning why the small, bedroom community needed a city administrator at all. The job now pays about $30,000 a year, Allan said. Initially, Kantor was allowed to set his own hours — including full-time service if he desired — but the job was officially reduced to half time last summer.
Council members Ben Card, Lori Allen and Cynthia Edmunds would not comment on the agenda items other than to acknowledge Kantor was resigning. Councilmen Don Walker Jr. and Stuart Newton could not be reached for comment.
"I'm letting the mayor be the public voice," Edmunds said.
"(Kantor) is very organized and has brought in a police chief and a police department that is excellent, and the ambulance department has improved," Mayor Allan said. "That's his expertise."
The City Council meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall, 35 E. Maple St.