On Wednesday, Dec. 6, Malarie DeVincent, who has acted as a Helper City Councilwoman for a number of years now, made the announcement that she was stepping away from her seat.
“This decision comes after much contemplation about my role in the community and my personal commitments. I am proud to have served on this esteemed council and have always strived to serve the community of Helper with dedication and integrity,” DeVincent shared. “However, I believe that now is the time for me to step back and focus on fostering more harmonious relationships within our community.”
In the resignation letter that DeVincent publicly shared for transparency, she continued by stating that balancing personal commitments with the demands of council duties became increasingly challenging, prompting her to believe it was in the best interest of the council and herself to resign. DeVincent expressed her gratitude for her time served and stated that she would make herself available during the transition period.
During the Helper City Council meeting that was hosted the following evening, Councilwoman Michelle Goldsmith made a statement during the public comment period. Councilwoman Goldsmith acknowledged that her comment was likely moot since DeVincent had resigned; however, it was something that she wished to have on the record.
Councilwoman Goldsmith referenced the welcoming and belonging proclamation that Mayor Lenise Peterman had read on multiple occasions, saying that Helper City is a place that welcomes everyone. “These are not just words, but the foundation of all that is good about Helper City,” the councilman stated.
Continuing, Councilwoman Goldsmith said that Helper City is led by the mayor and that the council members should be setting an example. Instead, according to the councilwoman, one member had ignored the policy.
Goldsmith had recently been told that DeVincent had allegedly made anti-Semitic postings on her Facebook. These alleged postings, which were deemed offensive by Goldsmith, have since been removed, she said. However, she stressed that it is unknown how much damage has been made by the alleged posts as those that know DeVincent as a city representative possibly now believe it is acceptable to be anti-Semitic.
Councilwoman Goldsmith said that she should not, as a Jewish woman, have to be fearful of Helper City. She also referenced the fact that DeVincent’s Facebook postings have caused public concern that the council addressed in the past. With these thoughts in mind, Goldsmith called for DeVincent’s resignation from the council.
DeVincent issued a response to the claims made by Goldsmith, stating that “the accusations in this bizarre statement were false, totally out of character for everything I stand for, and a complete surprise to me upon hearing of them later from those in attendance.”
DeVincent stated that she stands with the people of Israel over the horrors they have experienced from Hamas, and that she stands in solidarity with Jewish people around the world who are too often victimized for their beliefs.
“There is no place for anti-Semitism and I firmly stand against it,” DeVincent said. “I also stand with the innocent children and families of Palestine who are experiencing a horrific level of violence; my hope and prayer is that they can be safe soon.”
DeVincent said that the claims made during the council meeting were false and took up valuable city council time, detracting from those who are truly victimized by anti-Semitic speech and behavior. She concluded by stating that she would not like to live anywhere else and looks forward to continuing to contribute to the community.
“As someone who was born, raised and chooses to raise my family in Carbon County, I take great pride in how our community has for generations stood as an example of what is possible when hardworking people of different backgrounds come together to make something wonderful,” she said. “Our special little piece of Utah is just that because of the welcoming, inclusive spirit that has been demonstrated by the citizens of this area time and time again and that we commemorated in the steel plaques that adorn Helper’s sidewalks that say, ‘Welcome friends’ in 27 languages.”