During the Southern Utah News’ follow-up on the recent allegations of discrimination leveled at the Cedar Mountain Fire Protection District, the old legal refrain came into play: the parties presenting the accusations, as well as those defending themselves against them, stated very clearly “it is against policy to comment on ongoing legal situations.” While this limits the access the public has to information on the case before it goes to court in earnest, some sources within the county were willing to comment thanks to being a step removed from the issue.
One Kane County official stated, “The guys on Cedar Mountain have always valued their independence … been the sort of people who want to get together in their rural neighborhood and just sort of govern themselves. Most of the district board are volunteer members. It’s kind of a shame that people who are volunteering their time, serving because the job needs doing, are getting dragged into this sort of problem.”
The Cedar Mountain Fire Protection District was created about 30 years ago according to County officials, and has reformed multiple times - at present, the board of the CMFPD is county-appointed rather than elected.
Kane County Commissioner Wade Heaton, who is the County’s liaison to the CMFPD, offered some context around the subject as well, saying, “Despite the name, they’re more than just fire protection; they provide the biggest variety of services of any [Special Service District] in the county. Fire, dust control, sewer removal … When you’re in leadership and public office like that, legal issues are unavoidable. It’s just the nature of the thing when you’re representing people. We have systems in place to handle things like this, and Cedar Mountain is no different - we’ll see if it even goes to court, and if it does, they’ll get representation for themselves and manage things from the legal side.”
Multiple County sources contested the honesty of the lawsuit, with statements like, “Pretty much made up,” and “bald-faced lying, you can’t find record of any of that stuff happening,” but due to the information embargo associated with ongoing litigation, these responses are generally hearsay and second-hand accounting. None of the direct witnesses of the alleged events that lead to the lawsuit are permitted to give statements to the press yet. Further information will come forward as the case progresses towards - or ultimately away from - court.