Cat Urbigkit statement regarding civil lawsuit against Sublette Sheriff’s Office
June 8, 2008
Editor’s Note: Cat Urbigkit has filed to run as a candidate for Sublette County Commissioner. She submitted this statement to us regarding her husband’s civil lawsuit against the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office. Cat is also a frequent writer and contributor to Pinedale Online.
In late May, my husband Jim and his legal counsel filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Sublette County Sheriff’s Department. The case stems from an incident a year ago in which Jim was arrested and jailed for refusing to answer questions without his attorney present. Jim had called law enforcement officers after killing a black bear in our sheep pasture.
Because I am a candidate for county commission, I wanted to draw your attention to the lawsuit and address any questions or concerns about the matter as it pertains to my seeking public office.
In regard to the lawsuit, I am not a party to the suit. Since I was a witness to the arrest, I will have some involvement in the case, so I will not be able to comment on any specifics. Instead, I will refer media questions about the lawsuit to the legal proceedings filed in federal court, or to the attorneys presenting the case: Frank Chapman of Casper and Elizabeth Greenwood of Pinedale.
As for my being a commission candidate, I believe the lawsuit is irrelevant. I am not a party to the lawsuit, just as my husband is not the person seeking elected office. One simply has nothing to do with the other. The actions of the SCSO, and my husband’s resulting lawsuit, had no bearing on my decision to seek a seat on the county commission. I am seeking election to the commission because of my interest in governance and in serving the people of this county.
Just as other elected officials have done in the past, and must be done under rules for ethical conduct, if I were elected to the county commission, and an issue arose in which I had a conflict of interest, I would declare such a conflict existed and remove myself from deliberations and decision-making concerning the matter.
I do believe public officials must conduct public business in an open matter. I hope this statement addresses any concerns the public may have about this issue, and demonstrates my commitment to government in sunshine.
Thanks for your consideration,