KAYSVILLE — The Kaysville City Council released a letter of censure Wednesday aimed at Mayor Katie Witt expressing deep concerns for her support of a public concert despite health directives and asking her to resign.
The letter is on the agenda for Thursday’s City Council meeting, when the censure will be put to a vote.
Witt came under fire for her support and approval of a concert that was scheduled for a public park in Kaysville amid the COVID-19 pandemic and under “yellow” risk restrictions issued by the state.
“This letter accompanies your formal censure for your support and endorsement of the proposed Utah Business Revival protest concert which went against Kaysville City event planning and permitting processes as well as the Davis County and Utah Governor’s health directives,” the council said in its letter. “Our residents have spoken through hundreds of emails as well as public comments made at the May 21, 2020, City Council meeting, which we feel have been sufficient representation from our constituents.”
Witt said Wednesday she sees her decision to hold the concert as defending the First Amendment and people’s right to peaceably assemble. She said she’s just trying to defend the Constitution.
“I think the whole thing is really petty, but I do understand that when people are scared, it’s really hard to break free of that,” Witt said about the censure. “I think it’s coming from a place of fear.”
Witt said she won’t resign and that she’s not concerned about the censure, calling it an “ineffectual” action.
“It’s a slap on the wrist for standing up for the Constitution,” she said.
According to Kaysville City Councilman John Adams, the council decided to censure Witt because they see her continued support and promotion of the concert as a political move to further her 1st District Congressional campaign.
“Her whole thing was always about ‘this is not political, this is not part of my campaign,’ because that would be a gross misuse of her position as a mayor to then use that to gain political stature as far as her run for Congress,” Adams said.
Witt disagrees with the claim that her support of the concert was meant to further her congressional run. She said she would have supported it one way or another, saying “it’s part of who I am; I had to take a stand.”
Adams said Witt apologized during the May City Council meeting and that he had accepted her apology until he heard a political ad by Witt on the radio accusing the Kaysville City Council of trying to silence the Constitution.
“For us, it was like, I guess she really didn’t mean that apology or I guess that it really was about political gain because she’s still using it in a political campaign,” Adams said.
“Your support of this concert was inherently tied to your congressional campaign, a private and personal interest. Your role and respect as mayor should not be compromised by even the ‘appearance of impropriety,’” the council wrote in the letter.
The letter also states that, while Witt didn’t misuse funds, she did “misuse the time, energy, and trust of the city staff and your council.”
It said that if the concert had proceeded, it would have used public money to pay employees overtime, clean up the park and bring liability to the city.
Kaysville residents and the Alliance for a Better Utah called for Witt’s censure and resignation shortly after she announced plans for the concert.
The concert subsequently tried to move to Tooele, but it faced opposition from the county. Days before the concert was scheduled to happen, the Tooele County Health Department issued a notice of closure to the venue, and a 3rd District judge issued an injunction against the venue, restraining it from holding the event. It is now scheduled to take place later this month in unincorporated Iron County.