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Public comment sought on Kaysville City’s new leaders’ code of conduct
by LOUISE R. SHAW
Sep 28, 2016 | 141 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print

KAYSVILLE—The Kaysville City Council is seeking input from the public on a revised draft of a Code of Conduct for city leaders.

The draft is posted online at kaysvillecity.com and comments will be accepted until Oct. 29, after which the council will vote on whether or not to accept it as written.

According to the introduction, the purpose of the code is “to ensure public confidence in the integrity of local government and its effective, open, and fair operation.”

The original code, as drafted, was considered too lengthy, too specific, and too directed at the actions of one council member. Dave Adams, who was elected last November, had done some of the actions that were proscribed in the code.

The new code was prepared by Shayne Scott, the city’s newly appointed city manager, after the council tasked him with the rewrite at its Sept. 1 meeting.

Scott told council members at their Sept. 15 meeting that he had reviewed similar codes used in four Utah cities and a fifth city outside the state.

“I addressed each item and made a determination if that was a good aspect for Kaysville,” he said. “I tried to take more of a broad approach while still mentioning things that were common in other codes.”

Scott said his goal was to keep the code concise yet address all the issues that had been broached, avoiding redundancy with existing state and local laws.

“I think the key portion I struggled with was the enforcement portion,” he said. “I feel like that’s a tough thing to decide.”  

As it is now written, the two-page code is intended to be “self-enforcing” if members of the city council and city boards, committees and commissions become familiar with it and keep the standards outlined.

If the standards are not met, the chairs of committees or the mayor “have the responsibility to intervene when actions of Members appear to be in violation,” it reads. It then outlines four possible sanctions: an official reprimand in an open meeting, a formal letter of censure, loss of committee assignments or removal from meetings.

The code lists nine standards, the first that city leaders should act in the public interest and not for any private or personal interest, and that they should ensure fair and equal treatment to all.

Other standards included are for leaders to conduct themselves “above reproach and avoid even the appearance of impropriety,” respect the process and rules of order, and listen courteously to all public discussions, to name a few.

It also lists the need to maintain “a positive and constructive work place environment for city employees and for citizens and businesses dealing with the City. Members shall recognize their special role in dealing with City employees to in no way create the perception of inappropriate direction to staff.”

Jake Garn, a council member, was complimentary of the new draft, calling it “principles based rather than a list of specific behaviors.”

The code can be read in its entirety by going to the city website and following the link to “Code of Ethics.” Comments can then be emailed to ethics@kaysvillecity.com.

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Residents voice concerns, ideas for Bountiful Plaza
by TOM HARALDSEN
Sep 28, 2016 | 96 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print

BOUNTIFUL—As city leaders weigh both sides of the argument for and against building a new city hall and plaza near downtown, they’ll probably revisit minutes from the public meeting held on Sept. 13. For nearly three hours, residents shared their thoughts and concerns about the proposed project.

Now, city councilmembers will have to determine the best way to address the issue. They plan on rendering a final decision on whether to proceed, and how to proceed, during their regularly scheduled council meeting on Oct. 25.

At issue is the city’s plan to demolish Stoker School and build a new city hall and plaza on the site, on city-owned property between Main Street and 100 East, and between 100 and 200 South. Supporters say moving the city center to that location would help spur more retail sales activity for Main Street merchants.

Those opposing the move say the cost of constructing a new city hall, compared to renovating the existing city hall, doesn’t make financial sense.

There were both proponents and opponents present at the Sept. 13 meeting, and Mayor Randy Lewis asked those coming to the podium to more or less divide themselves so that a supporter could speak and an opponent could follow.A group of seven residents shared their views to start the meeting, each of them giving reasons for opposing some facets of the proposal. They were followed by public comment from at least 25 others.

To summarize concerns:

--Several asked that the issue be put on a ballot for voters, though that couldn’t happen this year, as the deadline has passed for adding issues for the November election. 

--Does the estimated cost of a new city hall (about $13 million, though the costs could get higher) justify the investment, when estimates of renovating the current city hall range from $4-6.5 million?

--Would the Davis County Library branch in the current city center complex move to another city if city hall moves?

--Could the proposed site be better used for economic development, such as a retail/residential mix or just more retail stores?

--Should the plaza plan be developed whether city hall is moved or not?

There were also reasons expressed for the plan by those supporting it:

--Several said they applauded the city’s desire to invest in downtown.

--Many expressed support of the plaza as a gathering place for families and neighbors.

--There was strong sentiment for constructing a veterans’ memorial on the plaza. In fact, no one spoke in opposition to the idea.

--The city’s move on investment downtown would show commitment to the area, and other developers could join in.

Each councilmember then chimed in with their thoughts, with support for the city hall/plaza concept split by a 3-2 margin. 

Councilmembers John Marc Knight and Beth Holbrook voiced their support, while councilmembers Richard Higginson, John Pitt and Kendalyn Harris weren’t ready to make a final decision. One sentiment they each shared was the desire to continue to help revitalize the downtown sector.

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Changing standard affects school grades
Sep 27, 2016 | 96 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print

FARMINGTON—As bad as many consider the letter grade system for ranking schools, some say it just got worse.

For three years, Utah’s school grading system has assigned schools a single letter grade to represent their perceived success (A) or need for improvement (F), but this year, many schools that worked to raise their grades learned that the formula changed.

A new law passed by the state legislaturethis year required the Utah State Board of Education to increase the threshold for letter grades by 5 percent if more than 65 percent of schools earn As or Bs.

It’s grading on a curve, and because state schools did reach that threshold, the standard was raised and those who thought they’d earned a higher grade were disappointed.

What it means to Davis School District is that where 30 schools expected their test scores would result in A grades, in fact only nine got that ranking.

And where 46 were anticipating Bs, instead 58 schools got them.

What it means at Clearfield High School, is that while scores in Language Arts went up 4 percent in the past two years, and scores in math went up 5 percent over two years and science scores also went up 5 percent from two years ago, their letter grade went from B two years ago and B last year to a C this year.

“It’s discouraging,” said Logan Toone, director of assessment for the district, after meeting with teachers at Clearfield High this week. “They feel demoralized. Every kid deserves to be proud of the schools they go to and the work we do in our schools merits that pride.”

Gordon Eckersley, president of the Davis School District Board of Education also expressed frustration.

“We raised our scores so they raised the standard and lowered our grades,” he said. “It’s so frustrating. For those who worked so hard to get a higher grade to get a low one anyway, we don’t like it at all.”

Toone is talking to “as many people as we can,” to get the system changed.

“We’re trying to build awareness,” he said. “We need to find a solution. We need to design a model that would work well for schools.”

He has sought out people in the legislature, the Utah State Board of Education and more. 

“It’s a source of frustration what happens when there is bad policy that misrepresents what our schools are doing,” he said.

Only one school in the district was given a D, and that was Vae View Elementary, which is already receiving targeted assistance with federal funds through Title I, and state assistance through the School Turnaround Model program.

Eight schools received C grades. There were no Fs.

All of the district’s junior highs and high schools were given B or C grades, though had the standard not been changed, nine would have earned As and only one a C.

“The new law essentially masks increased test scores by arbitrarily raising the criteria for letter grades,” wrote Toone in a press release announcing the scores. “The Davis School District is proud of the achievements of its students and schools regardless of what the letter grades show.”

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Braves open with region volleyball win
by CATHERINE GARRETT
Sep 27, 2016 | 77 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Defending state 4A champion Bountiful began region volleyball play with a 25-10, 25-20, 25-11 straight-set win over Ogden Sept. 13.

Head coach Sarah Chism credited her middle blockers for their “effective matches” as a key to the Braves’ win. Hannah Nielson and Kelsie White both hit over .600 with three and four kills respectively, while both recording three blocks. 

The team’s serving was also working for Bountiful. Bri Mortensen and Kennedy Poulton had four aces each to help the team’s total of 16.

“We are continuing to work on our weaknesses and focusing on how to make each other better on the court,” Chism said.

Davis

Davis improved to 3-0 in region play with a 3-1 win over Syracuse Sept. 13.

Senior Maisie Wells and junior Emilee Turner led the Darts offensively with 12 and 10 kills, respectively. 

Davis had 86 team digs with five players recording double-figures in digs – freshman Lexi Sunderland (17), senior Aubree Leonhardt (16), senior Libbie Darling (12), junior Britney Poole (10) and junior Bonnie Toller (10). Five blocks each by senior Katie Christiansen and Turner helped the Darts total 21 blocks as a squad. 

Viewmont

Viewmont had a 3-1 win and a 3-1 loss during region play this week.

On Sept. 13, the Vikings defeated Layton 25-18, 20-25, 25-23, 27-25 in a close match.

Sophomore Abi Jewett led the team with 14 kills while also adding 17 digs, four blocks and three aces. Senior Lillie Peterson recorded 19 of the team’s 56 digs to lead Viewmont defensively. Senior Megan Carr had seven of the team’s 16 blocks. Junior Dru Rhodehouse also served three aces in the Vikings’ win.

Against Syracuse Sept. 15, Viewmont lost 25-22, 25-17, 25-27, 29-27 despite three players recording double figures in kills. Jewett had 14, Peterson 12 and junior Mylee Gladwell 10 to lead the Vikings. 

Senior Shandee Johnson had 23 of the team’s 86 digs while Peterson (19), Jewett (18) and senior Kensie Wood (12) also helped the team defensively.

Woods Cross

Woods Cross got its first region win – in three matches – with a 3-1 defeat of Highland Sept. 15. The Wildcats improved to 11-9 on the year.

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Police investigate the scene of an accident Monday afternoon.
Police investigate the scene of an accident Monday afternoon.
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