Moab City manager placed on paid administrative leave while council members evaluate ‘internal issues’ in city organization

Moab City Manager Rebecca Davidson has been placed on paid administrative leave for an indeterminate period of time, effective immediately, according to city officials. The decision was made at the discretion of Moab Mayor Dave Sakrison, who officially informed Davidson on Tuesday morning, Sept. 13 that she would be placed on paid leave.

Moab City Recorder Rachel Stenta said that although the decision to place Davidson on paid administrative leave was made at the discretion of the mayor, that choice was “influenced” by issues raised by members of the Moab City Council.

“There were internal issues in the organization that the council determined needed to be evaluated,” Stenta told The Times-Independent. “The council felt the process would be streamlined if the city manager were on leave. That was the reason behind the mayor’s decision.”

However, Davidson told The Times-Independent on Wednesday Sept. 14 that no explanation for the action has been provided to her.

“I have been given no reason for being placed on leave and I don’t know of a reason that I would be put on paid leave,” Davidson said.

Because the city manager is a contractual employee, the mayor has final authority over that position, Stenta said.

“It’s at the mayor’s discretion,” she said. “The mayor has the authority to place the city manager on administrative leave, which he did.”

The Times-Independent spoke with Sakrison and Moab City Council members Rani Derasary and Tawny Knuteson-Boyd, and although they confirmed Davidson’s status on paid administrative leave, none would share information as to why that decision was made. Council members Kalen Jones and Kyle Bailey did not respond to messages seeking comment for this story.

Stenta said the decision to place Davidson on administrative leave was not intended to be a disciplinary action.

“Administrative leave is neutral,” Stenta said. “It’s not discretionary nor is it viewed as negative.”

She explained that under city regulations, employees could be placed on administrative leave for a variety of reasons, including trainings “or for other purposes.”

“It’s neutral,” Stenta said. “It’s not necessarily anything bad, good, or negative – it’s neutral.”

Stenta said the mayor held a meeting with city employees on Sept. 13, informing them that Davidson had been placed on administrative leave.

Stenta said Wednesday that no formal complaints have been made against Davidson.

ByBy Molly Marcello

The Times-Independent