Thursday, October 29, 2009

Stockton, Utah City Council Votes To Reinstate Police Cpl. Josh Rowell With Back Pay; Mayor Dan Rydalch Sneaks Out The Side Door And Ducks The Crowd

Update November 3rd: Dan Rydalch gets clobbered in election; updated post HERE.

Update November 2nd: Stockton voters who voted early for Mayor Dan Rydalch will not be allowed to change their vote. Lesson learned: Don't vote early.

On October 29th, 2009, justice was finally restored in the small Tooele Valley town of Stockton, Utah when the city council unanimously voted to reinstate Police Cpl. Josh Rowell, give him back pay, and remove any reference to the suspension from his record. Meanwhile, Mayor Dan Rydalch, who was slated to address the meeting, instead sneaked out a side door after a closed-door executive session. Media stories from the Salt Lake Tribune, KSTU Channel 13 (with video) and KSL Channel 5. KSL news video embedded below:

Video Courtesy of KSL.com



There was a standing room only crowd of around 100 at the council meeting in Stockton. Public comment was overwhelmingly in favor of Cpl. Rowell. In response to a previous statement by Mayor Rydalch that he was actually upset on October 20th about complaints from multiple citizens, including his son, about people being pulled over outside the DUI checkpoint, Police Chief Heinz Kopp stated that Rydalch was only upset about his son getting pulled over. Kopp characterized the mayor's conduct as inappropriate and unprofessional, and recommended Rowell be reinstated, noting that the young corporal has never had a single complaint filed against him.

In the face of such overwhelming support, the council voted unanimously to reinstate Rowell, with Rydalch's mayoral opponent Mark Whitney taking the lead in introducing the measure. Councilman Kendall Thomas went so far as to call on Rydalch to resign. But they're not sure when Rowell's first day back will be because they're uncertain if their vote actually reinstates him. There may be other legalities that need to be addressed.

Stockton voters can help mitigate some of that uncertainty by voting on November 3rd to replace Dan Rydalch with Mark Whitney as mayor, considering the numerous other allegations of abuse that have surfaced since this controversy broke out.

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