Mayor, Councilors Settle Out Of Court

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Payson Mayor Ken Murphy and town councilors Barbara Brewer and Judy Buettner have settled their differences over alleged telephone harassment by the mayor.

At a pre-trial settlement conference held Tuesday afternoon, Murphy agreed to apologize to the two councilors in writing for "the distress caused" and to include an "acknowledgment that he used inappropriate language in the phone calls to them."

The mayor was charged with two counts of intimidating, threatening or harassing with a telephone for phone calls placed to the two women on June 27. Murphy allegedly used profanity in accusing the two women of spreading rumors about his wife, who was, at the time, his fiancée.

"It seems to be the simplest and the best thing for me personally and for the town to just have all this stuff be dismissed," Murphy said. "I just think it's better to shake hands and move on. Both sides made mistakes and it's too bad it got elevated to the level that it did in the first place."

Brewer and Buettner agreed that the matter was best settled without a trial.

"There isn't much to say other than that it was settled and it was agreeable to both parties," Brewer said. "It's good to have it behind us. Let's move on."

"There was a resolution and it will be that Ken will be giving a written apology," Buettner added. "It's good to put it behind us and just go on."

Murphy also agreed at the settlement conference to dismiss the pending appeal of his disorderly conduct - fighting conviction for a confrontation that occurred Aug. 16, 2002 between the mayor and then Fire Marshall Jack Babb over Babb's decision to enforce capacity restrictions at the historic Ox Bow Saloon during August Doin's.

"I think the reason they wanted me to drop the appeal is that they were afraid I was going to win it," Murphy said. "We felt really confident about the appeal, but if this puts everything to bed, what the heck."

Murphy and Brewer are among four candidates seeking the office of mayor in this year's primary election on March 9.

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