South Salt Lake City Council member censured over social media posts

Mar 7, 2024, 7:52 PM | Updated: 9:01 pm

South Salt Lake City Council member Paul Sanchez...

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

(South Salt Lake City Council)

SOUTH SALT LAKE — South Salt Lake City Council member Paul Sanchez has been formally censured by his fellow council members, a move he claims targets his criticism of that body.

Drama on South Salt Lake City Council

According to the council, the censure comes after Sanchez violated its code of conduct with his social media posts criticizing elected officials.

South Salt Lake City Council members decided to censure Sanchez in a closed-door meeting on March 6.

After the meeting, the council returned to their chamber to announce the decision.

“Councilman Sanchez’s actions have created fear, and have distracted us from city business,” a council member read. She then announced the sanctions against Sanchez. Along with an official censure, Sanchez was:

  • barred from writing for the city newsletter
  • suspended from placing items on the council’s agenda
  • suspended from conducting formal meetings
  • suspended from formal travel as it relates to the city
  • barred from serving in leadership or on committees
  • required to participate in council meetings remotely
  • asked to resign

The council released a letter to Sanchez citing three of the messages that led to Sanchez’s censure:

On or about March 2, 2024, you posted a message to a social media platform stating:

“Mayor Cherie Woods [sic] has now blocked me from Instagram. Classy move Cherie, classy move. And
yes I have blocked Corey Thomas, her Instagram profile is set to private, and does not allow herself to get
tagged. Corey has been harassing me since the news broke regarding Lt. Jimmie Anderson, my belief is that
she has a romantic relationship with Jimmie and or really good drinking buddies. Either way inappropriate.
Her behavior online has painted me out to be some kind of woman hater. So yes I told her to (expletive) off. And I
will tell her again (expletive) off. If my language bothers some of you then don’t watch my content.” – South Salt Lake City Council letter to Senchez

The letter said one of the social posts allegedly provided personal information about the council chair. The council also alleged that Sanchez used social media accounts belonging to People of Color Power Coalition Political Action Committee to “‘like’ several inappropriate comments made by yourself from a number of your other accounts.”

According to the letter, “this activity continued in spite of the People of Color Power Coalition PAC requesting you to cease your use of those accounts.”

The council said that the censure would last through the end of Sanchez’s term, Dec. 31, 2027, “or if he can go 90 days with no code of conduct council rule violations, or violations of the law.”

Sanchez said he is exposing corruption

Sanchez told KSL NewsRadio he believes his fellow South Salt Lake City Council members censured him because of his work to expose corruption within the city.

In an Instagram post, Sanchez called out the South Salt Lake mayor and others within the city government for multiple alleged issues.

“It’s the police department, it’s the civilian review board. It’s the fire department, it’s the directors of the city,” he said. “They’re all colluding together to protect themselves.”

KSL has reached out to South Salt Lake City Mayor Cherie Wood and the council for comment. By Thursday afternoon, we had received none.

Sanchez admits he frequently criticizes local and state officials and his fellow council members online, and has heard complaints about his posts before.

In this example from Facebook, Sanchez is questioning some of Utah Gov. Spencer Cox’s housing priorities.

“This information is not new information,” he said. “My frustration is that this has been known in the community.”

Sanchez says he began investigating operations in South Salt Lake in late 2023 when a city police lieutenant received a DUI. He claimed the lieutenant kept his job. KSL reporting from December shows the lieutenant in question resigned; the mayor posted on social media to say he would have been fired if he had not resigned.

Contributing: Michael Houck, KSL TV

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South Salt Lake City Council member censured over social media posts