The members of the Cache County Council are seen here in happier days. They are (back row, from left) Gina H. Worthen, David L. Erickson, County Clerk/Auditor Jess Bradfield, Karl B. Ward, Chair Barbara Y. Tidwell, (seated, from left) County Executive David N. Zook, Nolan P. Gunnell, Gordan A. Zilles and Vice Chair Paul R. Borup.

CACHE COUNTY – Remember that brouhaha on April 12 when selected Cache County Council members were attacking the county executive?

Well, that never happened.

At least not according to Council Member Gina H. Worthen, who has taken to editing reality via the county council minutes.

There seems to be some confusion about my motion on the April 12 minutes …” Worthen said in an e-mail message obtained via a Government Records Access & Management Act (GRAMA) request. “The minutes belong to the (Cache County) council. The authority to change them belongs to the council.”

During the Cache County Council’s regular meeting on April 26, Worthen requested that the council defer approval of the April 12 minutes until she could make corrections.

Her corrections turned out to change the entire character of the official record of the April 12 meeting.

At that meeting, council Vice Chair Paul R. Borup made a motion to transfer funds for a policy analyst from the county executive’s budget to that of the county council.

Based on a video recording of the meeting posted on the Cache County YouTube channel, what really happened was that County Executive David N. Zook responded that he considered that motion “ … a personal attack against me, my office and my staff.”

The original minutes of that meeting, compiled by the County Clerk/Auditor’s office, was: “County Executive David Zook expressed frustration at the motion and characterized it as detrimental to his staff.”

Worthen’s correction, which was approved by the council on May 10, was “County Executive David Zook commented on the motion.”

Another of Worthen’s corrections was “Chair Barbara Tidwell addressed the council and executive.”

The Clerk/Auditor’s record of the meeting mildly says that “Council Chair Barbara Tidwell interjected and brought the council back to order.”

But the video recording shows Tidwell responding angrily.

“Alright, I’ve had enough of this,” she said. “It’s done. I’m tired of having to listen to it. I’m tired of having to feel like I am the mediator. I’m tired of it.

“So let’s just settle down. Let’s calm down. Let’s not put anything personal into it. Let’s take care of business and do what needs to be done as a council.”

The council unanimously approved Worthen’s corrections to the April 12 minutes on May 10.

Council member David L. Erickson praised those changes, saying that the minutes should reflect “what was said, rather than how it was said or a judgment of intent.”

When Country Clerk/Auditor Jess Bradfield attempted to debate the changes, he was interrupted by Tidwell.

“All right, all right,” she said. “Let’s not get into this again.”

Following the dispute at Tuesday’s meeting, County Recorder Devron Andersen observed that Cache County deserves leaders “ … who are more concerned with doing what is right for the citizens of Cache County rather than constantly trying to prove who is right.”

“The clerk’s office has always been open to edits,” according to Bradfield. “But we draw the line when someone tries to rewrite history.”

In an April 30 e-mail message to Bradfield, however, Worthen cited Utah law to justify her revisions.

“Utah law, 52-4-203, says that the minutes (of any public meeting) shall include (vii) ‘any other information that is a record of the proceedings that any member requests be entered in the minutes or recording’.”

“Please note,” she added, “it does not say with the approval of the clerk.”

Some members of the Cache County Council have had a stormy relationship with elected members of the county’s executive branch recently.

In January, the council denied a 7 percent pay raise for Zook, Bradfield, Andersen and County Treasurer Craig McAllister.

Relations between Borup and Zook have been tense since a behind-the-scenes altercation between the pair following the April 12 council meeting, during which Zook said he was threatened by Borup.

In the changes to the April 12 meeting, Borup is on record as saying that the county has grown and the part-time council needs a support staff.

In recent meetings, council members have discussed putting an auditor, a lobbyist and a policy analyst on the council’s payroll.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, some county employees say that they regard those discussions as retaliation by attempting to usurp the authority of elected officials.

“In my opinion,” Andersen said, “political retribution, power consolidation, refusing to collaborate with other leaders and trying to slander other leaders are all signs of people who are more concerned with being right than with doing what is right for the people.”

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