West Valley Mayor Resigns After Police Decoy Incident
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (AP) _ The mayor of Utah’s second-largest city has resigned, saying his arrest last month on a sex solicitation charge has clouded his political future and created difficulties for other city officials.
Flanked by his family, West Valley City Mayor Michael R. Embley told reporters and city employees at a news conference Wednesday that he considered himself the victim, but felt the incident raised questions about his leadership and created undue hardship for other elected leaders.
His resignation was effective immediately.
The 48-year-old mayor was arrested April 30 for soliciting sex from a police officer posing as a prostitute in downtown Salt Lake City, northeast of adjacent West Valley City.
He pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge May 6 and was sentenced to five days in jail, but the term was waived in lieu of a $200 fine.
Embley continued Wednesday to maintain that he had only been joking with the Salt Lake City police decoy. He declined to answer reporters’ questions about police allegations that he followed the woman for a half block before he was arrested.
Embley said people who know him have been very supportive ″and believe, as I do, that I am a victim more than anything else.″ However, he acknowledged his actions had disappointed others.
″I wish somehow that I could have the opportunity to visit with each of these citizens,″ he said. ″I could tell them some of the disadvantages that a public figure has in these circumstances.
″There is a general perception that all elected officials are rich and powerful. From this perception, some people enjoy seeing a public official suffer when making a mistake or having a problem,″ Embley said.
Embley had served four years on the City Council in the community of 72,500 before winning the mayor’s seat in 1985.