Talk about bad timing. Bobbi Bohman, an administrative secretary for the Salt Lake City Public Library, was told not to respond immediately to The Salt Lake Tribune’s request for an audio recording of the February board meeting, and that going forward, either director Beth Elder or the communications department would handle such requests. As a result, Bohman, who had long been the contact for records requests, resigned, the Trib reported. Elder was again zinged in a recent board meeting by unhappy employees, who have been complaining of low morale. Many employees fear reprisals from Elder, who sacked a bunch of them in January. Internal dissention aside, you can only wonder why Elder would choose a time of heightened interest in transparency and open records to close off the library.
It’s been entertaining watching public officials scramble to defend HB477—the anti-transparency bill just passed (and now likely to be repealed) by the Legislature. In a recent RadioWest broadcast on KUER 90.1, Lt. Gov. Greg Bell used an EnergySolutions scenario to illustrate the need to shield certain records. If someone from ES were texting a legislator about high-level wastes, that should be a public record, he said. But if that same person were texting to seek a legislator’s intervention on a personal matter—like, a son’s addiction program and a possible parole violation—that would be private. Really? It’s OK, then, for a public official to “personally” help a “friend” with a police matter? Someone needs to explain ethical boundaries to Bell.
Up in the Air
Sam Weller’s Bookstore is back on the map—at least in one location, the Salt Lake City International Airport. In 2009, Weller’s announced plans to leave its Main Street space for a new downtown location. No, the airport isn’t downtown. But this little location is something that owner Tony Weller says he’s been wanting for years. The airport will soon host a number of local retailers, including Squatters and Park City’s High West Distillery. Meanwhile, Weller’s remains on Main Street, but something’s in the wind. From its website: “In preparation for the big move, we are working with programmers to restore searchability to our website. We hope to be established in our new location by summer of 2011.”