By CAMERON DAGGETT
I have now been given permission to speak out publicly about the audit and recent articles regarding the allegations made against me and other employees of the city of Sun Valley. So far the public has only been given one version of the story; one that labels me and other city employees as “corrupt.” These allegations involve the use of taxpayer money, a matter of public concern for all residents of the Wood River Valley, and as a public servant I cannot sit silent any longer. I speak only on my own behalf and not in my official capacity as chief of police of Sun Valley, a position I have held for more than 26 years. Nothing I say in this letter has been approved or sanctioned by the city.
Sun Valley’s citizens have paid a high price both in actual costs and lost employee time due to the audit and the resulting employee hearings, which, in my case, were based on faulty assumptions. The city’s current administration could have resolved concerns with incidents that occurred back in 2009 to 2011 by simply talking with employees, like me, about these issues. Instead, outside auditors were hired to examine the issues and, as stated in the audit, “assume[d] any time an employee is out of the city limits they are not working.”
The current administration relied on this assumption in accusing me of stealing hundreds of hours from the city and threatened me with termination. This shows a total lack of understanding of my job and responsibilities, which take me out of the city on official business for meetings, court cases and trainings that occur in various parts of Idaho and regionally. Once I was threatened with termination, I had to fight for an adequate amount of time to respond to these allegations and to get documentation and information from the city to support that I was working (albeit outside of “city limits”) nearly all of those hours. After I was able to respond to these allegations, I was not fired nor was I required to pay back any money to the city. I was hopeful that this situation was finally resolved; yet, my reputation has been severely tarnished.
Having spent the last four months defending my whereabouts from three years ago, I had hoped to focus once again on my job—keeping our community safe. I have truly enjoyed serving the city of Sun Valley since 1974. My service to the city has introduced me to a diverse mix of people in many interesting situations. The city of Sun Valley has many fine employees that have only the public’s best interest at heart. I am grateful for these experiences and appreciate the support that many in the community have shown me.
I would like to end with a quote that I’ve found myself reading often over the last few months: “There comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for those who don’t. Life is too short to be anything but happy! Falling down is part of life, getting back up is living!” (unknown author).
Cameron Daggett is chief of the Sun Valley Police Department.
Editor’s note: As a matter of clarity, the Idaho Mountain Express, in its reporting on the investigations into financial matters and administrative practices at Sun Valley City Hall, has not used the word “corrupt” in reference to Cameron Daggett. All allegations of poor administration at the city that have been reported in the Express have been extracted from documents related to the investigations.