South Salt Lake City Council censures member over fiery social media posts

Council member Paul Sanchez will be forced to participate in council meetings virtually.

(Tim Kelly | The Salt Lake Tribune) South Salt Lake City Hall.

The South Salt Lake City Council has censured one of its own this week over three recent social media posts.

After Wednesday’s 6-0 vote, council member Paul Sanchez, who represents the south-central part of the city, will not be able to place items on meeting agendas, is suspended from city-related travel, won’t be able to conduct meetings, can’t serve on committees or in a leadership role, and must participate in meetings virtually for at least for the next 90 days, council Chair Sharla Bynum said in a statement on behalf of the council.

Sanchez abstained from the vote.

The council also requested that he resign.

“The council members will not be making any additional statements on this matter,” Bynum said, “for the safety and security of its members and city staff.”

(South Salt Lake) South Salt Lake Council member Paul Sanchez.

Last week, according to allegations outlined in a city report, Sanchez said in a post that he told fellow council member Corey Thomas to “f- - - off” and alleged that “her behavior online has painted me out to be some kind of woman hater.”

In an earlier post, the report alleges, he released Bynum’s place of work and her phone number in a post.

The posts were not visible Friday on his Facebook or Instagram accounts.

In a response posted online, Sanchez said the enforcement of the censure resolution “serves as a backlash” from the FBI, Equality Utah, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden.

Sanchez, who was elected in November and is serving his first term, said in a statement that he believes the council violated state and federal law in censuring him, adding that he plans to take legal action.

“This course of action transcends personal vindication; it is a steadfast commitment to uphold the principles of democracy, integrity and civil liberties,” he said. “It serves as a resolute stand against the unlawful overreach and the deliberate disregard for constitutionally and statutorily protected rights by those in positions of power within our community.”

Unless he refrains from additional violations over a 90-day period, Sanchez will not be able to fully participate in council business for the rest of his term, set to end in December 2027.