SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – Post after post by ‘Whisky Pete’ on Salt Lake Tribune articles criticizing Mayor Ralph Becker’s campaign rival in the upcoming race are no known to be those off the mayors own spokesperson, Art Raymond.
“On a personal human level, I can appreciate where he as coming from, unfortunately, the way he went about it just showed very poor judgement,” said Helen Lagan, Director of Communications for the mayor.
Raymond who admitted to using his work computer to post comments during his downtime at work was discovered to be ‘Whisky Pete,’ after some of his post had been flagged.
The Tribune looked into thee post and found the email connected to the account was attributed to Raymond. Upon further inspection, it as discovered Raymond as using a government IP address to pot the comments.
Raymond has cited his First Amendment right to free speech to post his comments, however, as the city’s spokesperson his public status plays a big role.
“being the city’s spokesperson, it’s kind of a 24/7 job. You’re always on and you don’t know when your services are needed,” said Terry Orme, The Salt Lake Tribune’s Editor.
State law prohibits ‘an expenditure from public funds for political purposes,” and the city’s own policies say, “…except de minimus use, employees use of city electron communication technology related to city business is prohibited.
Now the Mayor’s opponents are sound off. Calling this another example of the mayors failed leadership. While others are asking to remain focussed on the real issues.
Jackie Biskupski released the following statement:
“News today of unethical and possibly illegal activity by a key member of the Mayor’s senior staff is yet another example of the Mayor’s failed leadership. Add to this the claims of sexual harassment in the police and fire departments and it is clear the Mayor ha failed to set proper standards of behavior and systems of accountability within his administration. As the Mayor of Salt Lake City, I will convey a clear message to all staff about what is acceptable behavior and the ethical standards expected of all city employees.”
George Chapman also chimed in saying:
“As the past target of City sponsored political attacks, I think that Whiskey Pete is laughably entertaining.
The Mayor sent a political letter (on City letterhead and at City expense) to my friends, neighbors, and acquaintances for a mile away that said that I was a liar. I thought that it was laughably dumb and it actually made me look good. It was even funnier because it claimed that a flyer that I was passing out was full of untruths. The flyer was actually vetted and changed (out of a one time respect for the Mayor) to EXCTLY what the Mayor wanted. So the mayor’s letter was actually complaining about the Mayor’s flyer!
Sometimes elected officials do something dumb that you have to laugh and move on (after thinking “how dumb are you Ralph?”) I think that Art Raymond’s actions are in that category. Just tell the Mayor to release all emails (as if he would release any) and let’s laugh and move on (unless there is something else in the emails like all those sexual harassment allegations that we hear rumors about).
So can we stop talking about Whiskey Pete and billboards and talk about issues?”
Luke Garrott also released the following statement:
“Art Raymond is a top official in Ralph’s cabinet. He handles every media request to the administration and is trusted to serve as the city’s official spokesman. For Everitt to claim they had no knowledge about this shows they’ll scapegoat anyone to save themselves. To claim that Raymond is a lone wolf is laughable.
The Tribune caught Art Raymond playing both sides of the games, illegally I might add, and Ralph’s poll numbers are slipping. Like with Chris Burbank, the Mayor and his chief of staff have no problem passing responsibility onto someone else and throwing them under the streetcar.”
Meanwhile, the Mayor’s office remains his campaign had nothing to do with the comments and have asked the City’s human resources department to launch a full investigation to determine if Raymond violated any state laws or city policies.
Meanwhile, Raymond remains on administrative leave pending the results of the investigation.