The Carbon County Republican Party hosted an urgent session that preceded its central commission meeting last week. This was in regard to the recent concerns that have come to attention regarding Carbon County Assessor Gillan Bishop.
Carbon County GOP Chair Tina Urbanik stated that many people requested that the party take a clear stance in regard to the issues. Upon review, the party members made the decision that they must take action, prompting the emergency meeting. The intent, Urbanik explained, was not to be hateful or disrespectful in any way.
Kendra Seeley then read the resolution to censor and call for the resignation of the county assessor. He was elected as a republican to serve the will of the county and his position effects every property owner in the county.
The assessor is to assist in the calculation of property taxes through a number of steps and Bishop has operated his own private company while serving the county, which was a clear conflict of interest, it was said.
The resolution continued by stating that Bishop has not been present in accomplishing the tasks he was elected to do during the first three years that he was in the office.
Bishop also conducted over 900 commercial appraisals without certification and many owners disputed their property taxes in 2023. Significant errors were made in his office and the county lost significant money as a result, the party stated.
An outside party was hired to assist with Bishop’s work while still paying Bishop and these errors have put Carbon County at risk for losing additional funding. The resolution stated that the republican party does not have confidence that Bishop will do the job that he is elected to do, as evidenced by his failures to this point.
Following the reading of the resolution, Bishop was given time for a rebuttal and began by stating that for many, it was the first time that he had a chance to meet them face to face.
Bishop gave a short background on himself, saying that his decision to run as an elected official began about five to six years ago when he was working at USU Eastern. He made a plan, chose an office and decided to get the credentials. In 2020, he put his name forward to run and won, taking over an office that is a difficult one, he stated.
Bishop then said he ran a very successful business when he started his first two years of office, though that business was closed this year, which was done as a direct result of the pressure put on him to do so. Bishop stated that the conflict perceived did not actually exist and many employees and elected officials of the county have other jobs.
Bishop then said he believes in limited government and accountability, which was why he was present at the meeting. He explained that he has made his schedule transparent in order for anyone to be able to go online and see his schedule and who he has met with. This year, he has had a very large amount of meetings with taxpayers.
Bishop believes that the proof of these meetings negates the statements that he is not in the office, before acknowledging that the appraisals were done without the credentials. For the last two years, he has been working toward getting his license. “I am moving contentiously forward,” Bishop stated.
He shared that he believes that he can continue to provide a good level of service, not only to the taxpayers, but to the other elected officials. He believes that many things have been done well with him leading his office.
From there, the meeting hosted a question and answer session, which initially consisted of 15 minutes but continued to be extended through vote to ensure that those voting that evening had enough information to go forward.
It was stated that the republican party has no power to unseat an elected official, but as a party, they can make a stand and let the elected official know that they are unhappy with how things are going.
Justifications on inconsistencies in properties, what would be handled differently going forward, Bishops’s working hours and more were discussed during the question and answer portion, with Bishop explaining how detailed reviews are handled and stating that he would use the resources that have been offered to him and work through the training available.
Those that were able were then invited to cast their vote, which were collected by Carbon County Sheriff Jeff Wood and counted by the sheriff and one other individual of the party.
There were 13 total votes that came in. Eight were in favor of the resolution and the request for Bishop to resign, while four were against the resolution, and one voter abstained. It was clarified that though the majority was for Bishop’s resignation, the party cannot unseat him.