Heber City Hires Full-time, In-house Legal Council

Growing Legal Demands Necessitate In-house Council

Heber City, Utah – Heber City Council has negotiated an employment agreement with Mark Smedley to serve as the city’s full-time, in-house legal counsel, beginning June 3, 2019. Smedley has been the acting part-time city attorney since 2002, addressing city legal matters, including criminal matters in the Heber City Justice Court, for 17 years.

In response to concerns raised by the city manager in fall 2018, Mayor Kelleen Potter and City Council determined that the previous part-time arrangement with Smedley was not adequately meeting Heber City’s growing legal demands. These demands include a growing city, significant land use pressures, legal dealings with developers, the increased use of city contracts for professional services and an overall greater legal exposure for the city.

In considering the alternatives for general legal counsel services, City Council evaluated the pros and cons of contracting with an individual or firm, or employing a full-time, in-house city attorney.

Ultimately, the council determined that it would be in the city’s best interest strategically and financially to contract with one individual as the city’s in-house city attorney, where the city is the sole client and only priority.  

The advantages of hiring a full-time, in-house city attorney include greater certainty of annual legal costs, improved responsiveness due to exclusivity, enhanced availability to City Council and staff, and a more proactive role in anticipating, evaluating and addressing legal risks and challenges.

Smedley received a B.A. from the University of Utah, earned a J.D. from the University of Utah School of Law and has established long-term relationships with the Utah Municipal Attorney’s Association and the Utah Prosecutor’s Association. His impressive background in both private practice and public service gives Smedley the ability to understand the needs of both the city and the community, and allows him to observe, balance and assist in the handling of Heber City’s comprehensive legal matters.

In his 26 years as both a prosecutor and city attorney, Smedley has gained extensive knowledge of Heber City, its current legal matters and the Heber City community in general. His experience in both the private sector and municipal arena is vital to representing Heber City during this period of unprecedented growth and change.

Heber Valley Artisan Cheese held their 2nd annual Ice Sculptures Exhibition this weekend. Several local businesses sponsored the sculptures being displayed. There were also two different ice carving demonstrations. The event was free to the public.

The annual event began last year when Carolee Kohler saw ice sculpting on a Hallmark movie and thought it would be a fun idea for their farm. They are also considering a woodcarving event.

According to Lindsey Strother, social media and events coordinator, each sculpture takes between 1-3 hours to carve. “We contacted Amazing Ice Creations back in November, and we reached out to local companies to sponsor the ice sculptures,” she said. “Yesterday morning around 9 am, they came in a massive truck and dropped them all off for us, and we set them up.”

Along with the ice sculptures, sponsors receive a sign and canopy for the display and social media marketing. The sponsors decide what they want to have sculpted. After the event, they can take the ice sculptures and display them at their businesses. The creations normally last a couple of weeks. Some will be left in the field and can be viewed throughout the week.

The ice this year included Olaf, company logos, animals, and other items. Darron Kingston, the sculptor, has carved ice for over 10 years with his dad. According to Kingston, “I like sculptures that give me a challenge. Here, for example, my favorite was the lumberjack.” One of his favorite past creations was a 9-foot bear.

Grant Kohler, owner of Heber Valley Artisan Cheese, explained, “We decided to do something that was free and something that people could just get out and come and enjoy. Especially this year with Covid, it seems like Januarys are slow months. People are looking for things to be able to get outside and do.” He continued, “Businesses pay in and buy the sculptures, we have them sculpted, and then we just let people come and enjoy them.” Kohler estimated around 3,000 to 4,000 people will stop by the event.

The dairy farm also offers cheese-making classes and tours of their new robotic barn. “The tours are everyday except Sunday,” according to Kohler. “People hayride over, intermingle with the cows, see the barn and amenities, and watch the cows be milked. The cows will literally go get milked on their own.” Tickets for the tours and other events are available on the Heber Valley Artisan Cheese website: https://hebervalleyartisancheese.com/.