SALT LAKE CITY — Amid rumblings of a possible special session next week to make changes to the controversial law creating the Utah Inland Port Authority, Salt Lake City’s mayor is pushing back against her own City Council.

Mayor Jackie Biskupski says she’s “deeply concerned” by the council’s negotiations with state leaders.

“While my staff and I will continue to provide insight and participate in informal dialogue with you and your staff, this administration will not endorse the behind-the-scenes negotiations you are currently involved in, which is absent of a public process,” Biskupski wrote in a letter to Council Chairwoman Erin Mendenhall.

The letter was sent Wednesday and obtained by the Deseret News Thursday.

The mayor also cited concerns with transparency and pushback from community members frustrated over how elected officials have been handling the creation of the inland port as reasons not to call a special session.

“Given the current acrimony, now is not the time for us as city leaders to participate in a rushed special session, rather it is time for us to choose to support the requests of our community partners,” Biskupski says in the letter.

Biskupski’s letter came in response to a letter from Mendenhall on Tuesday, inviting the mayor to participate in negotiations after several invitations to the mayor in June and July were declined.

“Although our invitations to you and your staff to get engaged in the discussion and participate in the meetings (extended on June 16, June 27 and July 7) were declined, it is not too late for your] to be a part of the promising progress,” Mendenhall wrote. “We ask you to allow your staff to participate in the working group and re-establish communication between our office and administration staff on this topic.”

The tension between the council and the mayor come after negotiations broke down between Biskupski and the governor in May ahead of a previously planned special session.

Thursday, City Council members and state leaders, including Gov. Gary Herbert and House Speaker Greg Hughes, were scheduled to meet in the governor’s office to discuss possible changes to SB234, but the specifics of the proposed changes were not immediately available.

Mendenhall, Councilmen Charlie Luke and James Rogers, and city staff, as well as SB234’s bill sponsor, Sen. Jerry Stevenson, and Hughes filed into the governor’s office for the closed-door meeting Thursday afternoon.

Biskupski wouldn’t be attending Thursday’s meeting, said her spokesman, Matthew Rojas.

Prior to the meeting, Mendenhall said she …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Business News


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Mayor Jackie Biskupski refuses to ‘endorse’ City Council port negotiations

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