POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

South Salt Lake City Council member censured, claps back

Mar 7, 2024, 4:35 PM | Updated: 8:45 pm

South Salt Lake City Council member Paul Sanchez has been formally censured by his fellow council m...

South Salt Lake City Council member Paul Sanchez has been formally censured by his fellow council members. He said it's because he's trying to expose corruption, but his colleagues say it's because he's created a climate of fear. (Paul Sanchez, Facebook)

(Paul Sanchez, Facebook)

SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah —  South Salt Lake City Council member Paul Sanchez has been formally censured by his fellow council members, a move he claims targets his criticism of that body.

Drama on South Salt Lake City Council

According to the council, the censure comes after Sanchez violated its code of conduct with his social media posts criticizing elected officials.

South Salt Lake City Council members decided to censure Sanchez in a closed-door meeting on March 6.

 

After the meeting, the council returned to their chamber to announce the decision.

“Councilman Sanchez’s actions have created fear, and have distracted us from city business,” a council member read. She then announced the sanctions against Sanchez. Along with an official censure, Sanchez was:

  • barred from writing for the city newsletter
  • suspended from placing items on the council’s agenda
  • suspended from conducting formal meetings
  • suspended from formal travel as it relates to the city
  • barred from serving in leadership or on committees
  • required to participate in council meetings remotely, and
  • asked to resign.

The council said that the censure would last through the end of Sanchez’s term, Dec. 31, 2027, “or if he can go 90 days with no code of conduct council rule violations, or violations of the law.”

Sanchez said he is exposing corruption 

Sanchez told KSL NewsRadio he believes his fellow South Salt Lake City Council members censured him because of his work to expose corruption within the city.

As originally reported by KUTV, Sanchez has called out the South Salt Lake mayor, and others within the city government for multiple alleged issues.

“It’s the police department, it’s the civilian review board. It’s the fire department, it’s the directors of the city,” he said. 

“They’re all colluding together to protect themselves.”

The South Salt Lake City Council responds

In a statement sent to KSL, the South Salt Lake City Council reiterated the sanctions placed against Sanchez.

The South Salt Lake City Council officially censured Council Member Paul Sanchez at the Council meeting on March 6, 2024. Pursuant to the South Salt Lake City Council Rules of Procedure, he will be suspended from writing Council communications; suspended from placing items on the Council agenda; and suspended from conducting Council meetings. He will be suspended from travel related to the City or the Council. He will not be allowed to serve in leadership or on committees. He will be required to participate remotely on Zoom. In addition, the Council has requested that he resign. The decision to take these actions was unanimous among the remaining six members of the City Council. These measures will remain in effect until the end of his term, December 31, 2027, or until he refrains from Code of Conduct violations, Council Rule of Procedure violations, or violations of the law for 90 days.

The Council members will not be making any additional statements on this matter for the safety and security of its members and City staff. Video of the March 6 Council meeting is available on the South Salt Lake website. The Notice of Allegations against Council Member Paul Sanchez is also attached.

Sanchez admits he is critical of local and state officials

Sanchez admits he frequently criticizes local and state officials and his fellow council members online, and has heard complaints about his posts before.  

In this example from Facebook, Sanchez is questioning some of Utah Gov. Spencer Cox’s housing priorities.

 

“This information is not new information,” he said. “My frustration is that this has been known in the community.”

Sanchez says he began investigating operations in South Salt Lake in late 2023 when a city police lieutenant received a DUI. He claimed the lieutenant kept his job. KSL reporting from December shows the lieutenant in question resigned; the mayor posted on social media to say he would have been fired if he had not resigned. 

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South Salt Lake City Council member censured, claps back