Enraged residents accuse official of corruption after ticket dropped, stop signs cut down
(KUTV) Accusations of misconduct are flying around a Duchesne County town after a city manager was let off the hook from a traffic violation and a pair of stop signs were removed.
A group of residents calling themselves Concerned Citizens of Roosevelt Utah say the disappearance of the stop signs is suspect, and they allege City Manager Ryan Snow is abusing his power.
"Could this be an adult temper tantrum? Could it be that it was a mere obstacle that was inconvenient for Snow's daily commute?" members post on its Facebook page last week.
But the allegations may be just that.
The town seems split, with some city leaders case defending Snow and citing the accusations of misconduct as a baseless, personal attack.
"The only thing he did wrong was not stop at the stop sign," said City Attorney Grant Charles.
Snow was stopped by a state trooper after rolling through a stop sign on March 17. In the dash-camera video obtained by 2News, Snow tells the trooper he plans to fight the ticket.
A few days later, the stop sign where Snow failed to yield was cut down. Later, the city attorney dismissed Snow's ticket.
A group called Concerned Citizens of Roosevelt is calling for the city to put the signs back up and to look into misconduct in the process of Snow's ticket being dismissed.
"We would question why the Mayor and City Council find it necessary to downplay the situation," the group posted Friday. "If it is true that we must 'Lead by Example', then we would assume that the actions of our Leaders: the City Manager, Mayor and Council would insinuate that running a stop sign is ok, if you're just 'creeping through.'"
"May they be reminded," the posted continued, "that they are not above the law. They must come to the realization that the backdoor, behind the curtain deals are a thing of the past, and will not be tolerated."
Snow defended himself in a message posted to the Roosevelt City page Friday.
"Did I ask for any special consideration of the attorney? No. Now that I have seen the video I was clearly wrong, and the officer had every right to ticket me," he wrote. "I am sorry for my error. I simply want what is best for the City of Roosevelt and as long as the council sees fit I will continue to make every effort I can to faithfully serve the citizens of Roosevelt."
Snow said he didn't stop at the stop sign, but maintained that everything he did after that is above board.
In e-mails obtained through a 2News public records request, Snow asked Roosevelt City Police Chief Rick Harrison whether the department assigned police officers to monitor stops signs for "the chance that someone may not come to a complete stop."
Snow asked Harrison whether failing to stop at a stop sign was a "rampant problem" and asked if the difficulties in the local economy prompted officers to more closely monitor intersections in the city.
Snow's citation was issued by a Utah Highway Patrol trooper working within Roosevelt City limits, not local law enforcement.
However, Harrison told 2News that, after speaking with Snow, he saw no objection to removing the stop signs. He said he also said he did not question Snow's motives and had no problem with the process of how it happened.
City attorney Grant Charles also defended Snow.
"He did not ask me to dismiss his ticket, and I don't see how there could be any allegations of corruption or misconduct with this case," Charles said. "If I wouldn't have dismissed the ticket, then I would have been treating him differently than another citizen in the same circumstance."
Charles said he regularly dismisses first-time traffic offenses from drivers cited in Roosevelt City. He told 2News in a phone interview Friday that Snow is not a habitual traffic offender and noted he would have dismissed a similar case for anyone else.
He also said nothing about Snow's case is questionable or inappropriate.
City Public Works Manager Kirby Wolfinjer said Snow did nothing wrong when he brought the suggestion to the city to remove the stop signs.
In a phone interview with 2News, Wolfinjer said he talked to Police Chief Harrison and they looked at the intersection and felt the stop signs were not necessary because there were already traffic control devices at the two adjacent intersections.
He defended Snow and said there was nothing inappropriate with the process of removing the signs.
City Mayor Von Ryan also said he has no problem with the process of how the signs were removed and does not plan any disciplinary or corrective action.
Several citizens who have spoken to 2News in the last few weeks, say they are not surprised city leaders are rallying behind Snow.
"If it were you or I that ran that stop sign, we would have paid the ticket or we would have fought it in court, and nothing would have been done or said about," Bird said.
They said there are more wide-spread problems in city government and they plan to organize and petition city government. They also plan to speak publicly at the May 3. City Council Meeting.
"There's a reason why this story is more than just a stop-sign being removed," Bird said.
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