Despite previous statements, Cedar City councilman elected to County Commission won’t resign from council

Cedar City Councilman Paul Cozzens hands a $3,000 check to Peggy Green, Iron County Care and Share executive director. The amount is one-quarter of his 2019 salary; he donated an equal amount to three other charities, Cedar City, Utah, Dec. 12, 2018 | Photo by Tracie Sullivan, St. George News / Cedar City News
CEDAR CITY —  County Commissioner-elect Paul Cozzens announced his plans Wednesday to serve out the remainder of his term as Cedar City Councilman, placing him in a unique position of power that drew concern from voters during the election.

Cozzens was elected to the commission in November and has one year left to serve on the Cedar City Council. The issue of him concurrently serving in both public offices was raised last June during Cozzens’ bid to win the primary against opponents Jennie Hendricks, Sam Brower and Michelle Jorgenson.

At the time, many voters by way of Facebook called for him to step down if elected as commissioner. While Cozzens agreed to do so at the time, reading from a previously prepared statement Wednesday, he said he has since changed his mind after being approached by many of his constituents asking him to stay on as councilman.

“I am, and will always be, a strong fiscal conservative,” Cozzens said. “Although, I sometimes feel I am a lone voice, these constituents have told me that they feel it is necessary to have such a voice and balance on the council.”

During an interview with Cedar City News, Cozzens said the requests multiplied over the last few months after his fellow City Council members approved a new animal shelter in September, allocating a controversial $1.5 million for the project, which was $300,000 over budget and came six months after the city held the shelter groundbreaking when public officials told the press it would cost $1.2 million.

More recently was the new concession stand at Bicentennial Park that drew ire from the public, Cozzens said, prompting more people to reach out.

“These decisions, in my opinion, could potentially cost the taxpayers a half-million dollars,” Cozzens said. “After listening to their concerns, I felt it was my duty to fulfill the promise I had made to the voters in this city to do everything I could to ensure their tax dollars are not wasted, so I reconsidered my position. … For these reasons, I have decided to finish the job that you, the majority of voters in the city, hired me to do, rather than leave it to a small handful of people to choose an unelected replacement.”

While Cozzens’ decision may have political fallout, including potentially resurfacing in four years when his term as county commissioner is up, he said he is comfortable with his choice to remain on the council until 2020.

“I do what I think is right,” Cozzens said. “I have never weighed my decisions through a political lens or based on what kind of a backlash I may get. I didn’t run for office to be popular.”

Cozzens announced Wednesday that he would be donating his $12,000 City Council member salary for next year in equal shares of $3,000 each to the Canyon Creek Women’s Crisis Center, Family Support Center, Iron County Children’s Justice Center and Iron County Care and Share.

Reading from his prepared statement, Cozzens said he is making the financial donations to ensure no one thinks he has made this decision for “personal gain.”

Email: tracies@outlook.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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6 Comments

  • Red2Blue310 December 12, 2018 at 9:05 pm

    So sick of crooked politicians i could hurl.

    • Kosol December 13, 2018 at 10:27 am

      Agreed

    • Brian December 13, 2018 at 11:44 am

      Yeah, I hate it when politicians donate their entire salary to worthy charities and stand up for responsible spending.

      While I generally want politicians to keep their word (yes, Orrin “18 years is enough” Hatch, I’m talking to you) situations can change and it does seem like Cozzens is doing the right thing in this case. It appears he’s serving out the remainder of his city council term for a valid reason, in no way for personal gain or power. If there are no laws against it, he’s doing what is right, and he isn’t doing it for direct or indirect personal gain, I don’t see what the problem is.

      • tazzman December 13, 2018 at 4:35 pm

        This sounds like it could be a big conflict of interest while serving two different constituencies.

  • Kosol December 13, 2018 at 10:11 am

    Move your butt out of there!

  • Deniece December 14, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    As I see it Mr. Cozzens is not keep his word and he is doing this because he thinks it’s the right thing to do. Mr Cozzens works for the people and he should do the what he said he would do if elected to the office of county commissioner and that was to step down as a city councilman. Mr Cozzens also serves on the water conservancy board for iron county. That is a lot of influence held by a single individual. If he is willing to say one thing and do another what does that say for the future of our city and county. He should stand by his word and step down. That’s the right thing to do.

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