Update October 29th: Stockton City Council votes to reinstate Josh Rowell with back pay; updated post HERE.
Stockton, Utah Mayor Dan Rydalch, who just recently suspended Police Cpl Josh Rowell without pay for giving Rydalch's son a ticket, apparently has a history of abusive, impetuous behavior, according to an October 28th, 2009 story published by the Salt Lake Tribune. The Deseret News has also picked up on this story.
The Tribune reports on a 2006 lawsuit filed in federal court against the city of Stockton by then-city employee Ellen Montague. Montague claimed Rydalch had violated her constitutional rights to be free from political retaliation and illegal searches. The city settled the dispute with Montague in an out-of-court agreement in April 2007; terms were not disclosed, although the Deseret News reports it was less than $10,000. But some of the charges in the suit were disturbing. Shortly after Rydalch was elected in November 2005, he began a period of harassment and punitive actions against Montague, apparently designed to induce her to quit, because he saw her as a political foe. He mistakenly believed that Montague campaigned for Rydalch's opponent, Barry Thomas, in 2005.
-- On February 24th, 2006, Montague was suspended with pay for two weeks for "interfering with another department." When Montague returned to work, she was told to take another week off. Seven days later, she was told to take yet another week off.
-- On March 21st, 2006, three police officers executed a search warrant at her house, apparently looking for stolen municipal documents. They found none. Rydalch ordered the warrant.
-- On March 24th, 2006, police returned to Montague's residence, demanding her computer hard drive. Nothing incriminating was found.
-- On April 12th, 2006, Rydalch offered Montague $2,000 to resign; she refused.
-- On April 21st, 2006, Rydalch again demanded Montague's resignation, this time offering no severance pay. He again falsely accused Montague of obstructing his administration.
Other allegations of irregularity on Rydalch's part are surfacing in the KSL comments section:
Comment 2:15pm - Wed Oct 28th, 2009
Since he has brought this upon himself why don't someone investigate the SOD farm Stockton has. Supposedly since they don't do SOD anymore they have voted and are currently using this area for grazing for cows. They are suppose to charge $15 per cow per month fee and NO bulls allowed. Well Mr. Mayor has taken it upon himself to move his own cows in there along with about 10 bulls to graze. I would like to see the paper trail showing how he has paid the city the right to do this. Lets see some bank account records to prove he is paying the city for the correct fee per cow per month. I doubt it. But we would have to. This Mayor is using or his son is using free of charge a home that a Developer owns to use as his own now and of course the developer wants something in return when he decides to build homes around stockton. When does all of this start to catch up to him. Someone must look into all of the bad dealing he has going on in Stockton... AND just think, all of this is coming to attention because of OPIE (his son) told daddy he got a ticket. wow.. Of course all of this is just speculation, none of this can be true......
9:45am - Wed Oct 28th, 2009
I also grew up with [Dan] Rydalch. He has always been full of himself and an opinionated pompous «no swearing please». His prior experience was being something like head water-master for the town of Stockton. He was a city councilman and was very vocal against installing a sewer system in Stockton when the funds were available. Now the poor town is obligated by law to install the sewer system but has no funds. This is only one of several of his blunders. How the town reacts will speak for itself. There are quite a few hayseeds out this way who are loyal to his arrogant ways.
10:25am - Wed Oct 28th, 2009
How will this effect the Mayors free use of 350 acres of city owned pastureland that he and his son has run their cattle on since he has been mayor, the $100,000 that the city has paid for irrigation water assessments for the pasture, all of the "pasture credits" they have charged to the city for taking care of the irrigation equipment and fences to support their own cattle, and the 150 acres that his son uses with a new home and its irrigation water that belongs to one member of a group of large landowners that are working with the mayor (probably in secret) to get annexed into the city in order to develop a mega-sized and mega-dollar subdivision around Stockton City.
If the mayor stops being mayor then he and his son chance losing $thousands over a measly $50 traffic ticket.
1:39pm - Wed Oct 28th, 2009
This mayor will never resign. He is too dependent on the "freebies" being mayor has given him. He and his son "run cattle" but are completely dependent on the town for pastureland. Together they own nothing. Sonny boy is "leasing to own" a piece of land and home for $500 a month (so I have been told). It would cost the rest of us a minimum of $2000 a month. I would really like to see a copy of that lease agreement. I would also like to see receipts for payments made since the son has no steady job except for running his cattle and working as a hired hand for rodeos. My husband and I make a good living on a COMBINED income and we could never afford the home the son is living in with no apparent steady income.
I've know this family for a long time. When things started happening I couldn't believe it. And now this latest incident just blows my mind. My heart goes out to the mayors wife. She is the kindest, sweetest person you will ever meet. She will do anything for anyone. I can't imagine what this is doing to her.
Meanwhile, on October 27th, Cpl. Rowell once again defended his actions, saying that he acted professionally when he wrote the driver a ticket and was shocked when he was suddenly asked to hand over his badge. He said he had never previously met the driver, 29-year-old Jared Rydalch, and explained that after he stopped Jared, Jared told him that he was out looking for his dog, and asked him to tell the other officers to not pull him over again. Rowell then told Jared, "No. If I see you driving around again, I'm going to pull you over again".
Not only is the city council and the community solidly lined up behind Cpl. Rowell, but a number citizens of voted early and may have voted for Rydalch want to change their write-in ballots for the upcoming election. Many residents have told Councilman Kendall Thomas that they can't support Mayor Rydalch now. But they strictly use mail-in ballots in Stockton. Thomas intends to ask Tooele County officials if voters can come to the county courthouse to change their ballots before they're counted, but he concedes the chances are remote. The City Council is holding a special meeting on Thursday Octoboer 29th to discuss the issue.
Early voting has been touted as such a great boon for "democracy", but this is the flip side.
Even if there can't be a re-vote, Rydalch does have an opponent in City Councilman Mark Whitney, and local experts think it will be a close race because a lot of people are fed up with Dan Rydalch's shenanigans. The election takes place on November 3rd, and mail-in ballots must be postmarked by November 2nd to be counted.