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Brigham City mayor pleads guilty to disorderly conduct
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Brigham City Mayor Dennis Fife has pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and paid a fine to resolve an assault complaint filed against him by Councilwoman Ruth Jensen.

The complaint stemmed from a verbal and physical altercation between Fife and Jensen that followed a June 12 meeting of Box Elder County commissioners mayors and city council members in which Fife disputed things that Jensen said. Details of an investigation, conducted by Tremonton police, were released Tuesday.

The police report said Jensen confronted Fife after the meeting, saying she was going to call him on his lies next time. The report said witnesses saw Fife grab Jensen's arm and an audio recording picked up a female voice saying, "Don't touch me. Don't touch me," and a male voice saying, "You call me on it, you call me on it, you call me on it."

Jensen filed a police report that night, which launched a probe into whether Fife should be charged with simple assault. He ultimately pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and paid a fine, said Tremonton police Chief David Nance.

The issue discussed during that June session was whether it would be advantageous for the cities and county to switch metropolitan planning organizations (MPO) as they sought federal funding for transportation projects. Fife and Jensen had different opinions on the MPO they favored.

"The mayor called her out several times," Commissioner LuAnn Adams said, adding that she also received similar treatment from Fife. "He was obviously very upset with me. We didn't see eye to eye that day."

One mayor — Kenneth Braegger of Willard — told the investigating officer that Jensen had been belligerent with Fife throughout the meeting.

Braegger, according to the police report, said Jensen "was the instigator and 'she deserved it' ... that she needed to be put in her place, not physically, but mentally."

Braegger said he could tell the two elected officials had a mutual dislike for each other. Fife's confession to an extramarital affair last November further fueled that divide, with Jensen and others urging him to resign. Fife, determined to stay on the job, ends his term this December and is not seeking re-election.

Jensen said Tuesday that tensions between herself and Fife have lessened since the June confrontation.

"He seems to be trying to be a little bit more civil," Jensen said. "I appreciate that he's trying. That's all I ever wanted — to be treated with respect."

cmckitrick@sltrib.com

Twitter: @catmck

Tussle between mayor and councilwoman at heart of complaint.
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