Collingwood resignation leaves council with two open seats

by nathan oster

Rod Collingwood has resigned from his seat on the Greybull Town Council, citing a professional opportunity that will require him to relocated to the Star Valley area as his reason for stepping down.

Collingwood was elected to serve a four-year term in the November general election. He and Scott Mattis, also elected to a four-year term in November, joined the council in January, so his departure comes three months into his term.

Already unable to fill the seat that Myles Foley vacated in order to become mayor, the council must now fill two seats. Foley, Mattis and Clay Collingwood will try to do just that when they meet Monday, April 13 at Town Hall.

Foley said he’s optimistic the council will fill the two seats.

A Greybull native, Collingwood is leaving not only the area — his house is in the process of being put on the market — but also TCT, a company he’s been associated with for more than 16 years.

“I got an unexpected job offer that I just couldn’t pass up,” said Collingwood, who will be working for an independent telecommunications company, doing the same type of operations and project management work he has been doing for TCT.

Collingwood said he has mixed emotions about leaving the council so soon after the election.

“I was in turmoil (about this decision),” he said. “I ran, then I didn’t, then I ran again, got on and felt like things were going in the right direction, that we were taking care of business and moving things forward.”

Collingwood has been at the center of the debate over how the council should fill the seat that Foley vacated. Mayor Foley, with Councilman Clay Collingwood’s backing, has said repeatedly that he feels the mayor should have the ability to appoint someone of his choosing to fill the vacancy, with council approval.

Rod Collingwood and Scott Mattis haven’t backed any of the mayor’s appointments so far, preferring to open it up to anyone in the community who would like to run to submit a letter of interest to the town, something Foley has opposed.

The resulting stalemate has frustrated observers on both sides.

Foley said Monday that he believes the new council will be able to find common ground.

Collingwood concurred, saying he visited with Administrator/Finance Director Paul Thur extensively on Monday morning and that he’s hopeful the compromise idea he presented will win the backing of the full council.

Collingwood said his resignation was effective at the end of last week.

“I was looking forward to staying on, and keeping this water project on track and ensuring that we got it done,” he said. “But (Town Foreman) Dalen Davis has a good grip on things and we’ve got a good understanding with our engineering firm, so I’m optimistic.”

Kent Richins, the town attorney, said the council can perform its business with three members.

If one is absent for any reason, however, it could not take action. For there to be quorum, which is needed to take action, at least three “qualified members” of the governing body must be present.

“As long as you have one council member who can make a motion, another one who can second it, and three people voting, you can conduct business,” he said. If another one leaves before one of the vacancies is filled, “then we’d have a problem. Right now, we’re about as thin as we can be.”

Another point: Richins said his interpretation of the law is that with a three-member council, just as when the council is at five and fully functional, the mayor can neither make nor second a motion, but can cast a vote.