Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

October 31, 2017
Eight candidates seek four seats on Stansbury Agency board


The 2017 municipal election on Nov. 7 in Stansbury Park features two seats for the Stansbury Greenbelt Service Agency and two seats for the Stansbury Recreation Service Agency board of trustees.

The Stansbury Greenbelt and Recreation service agencies work together with a combined board of trustees under an interlocal agreement as the Stansbury Service Agency.

George Cannon, Gary Jensen, Brenda Spearman and Aaron Spilker are seeking the two Stansbury Greenbelt board seats. Cassandra Arnell, Steven Blake, Michael Johnson, and Robert Norman are seeking the Stansbury Recreation Service Agency board seats. The candidates for each service agency board with the most votes will be the winners.

The Tooele Transcript Bulletin sent three questions to the candidates. Their answers appear below in alphabetical order. Candidate Steve Blake did not respond.

Stansbury Greenbelt Service Agency

1.Tell us about yourself, your education, your work experience, public involvement, why you are running for office, anything else about yourself that you think is relevant.

George Cannon: I work at LDS Church Headquarters in downtown Salt Lake City. I am a certified financial professional in the central finance department. I moved to Stansbury Lake last year. I believe in serving my community, and have served as board chair for a number of Salt Lake City charities working on the problems of homelessness and underemployment for working mothers in our area. I wanted to serve my Stansbury community, and contribute to this beautiful place, by serving on the Stansbury Green Belt District.

Gary Jensen: I have been a resident of Stansbury Park for six years. Four of these years I have served on the Stansbury Service Agency board of trustees. My wife, Marcia, and I have five children and 16 grandchildren who all love coming to beautiful Stansbury Park. I come from a dairy farm background where hard work and attention to detail was taught. I am a certified arborist currently working as a contractor for Rocky Mountain Power as a quality assurance arborist. I have always been involved in the community wherever and whenever possible. I served as the president of the Twin Falls county tree board in Twin Falls, Idaho. I have also assisted many scouts obtain the Eagle rank, being an Eagle myself. I look forward to more service and community involvement, now and in the future.

Brenda Spearman: My husband and I, with our young family, moved to Tooele County in 2002, then to Stansbury Park in early 2012. We have five daughters including two sets of twins. We currently live north of state Route 138, and have fallen in love with Stansbury Park and all it has to offer. I have been very active in the community since we moved to the valley. Most recently, I have been involved with the Stansbury Park Community Association. I have been a board member for the last four years and have been president for the last three. The SPCA coordinates activities and events for residents, the largest event being Stansbury Days. I graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s degree in social science. I am currently working on my master’s degree in business administration and I am a community manager for a non-profit organization. I have been trained in the state’s open meetings and procurement laws. I have worked with a variety of organizations and boards and understand the balance and relationship between boards and staff.

Aaron Spilker: Resident of Stansbury Park for about 18 years. Father of seven, grandfather of four and one third. I’m a registered nurse with a strong medical and business background. I currently direct the medical staff in a group of home health and hospices here in Utah and Idaho. Very active in our community with a great love for the people, and the peace and safety we enjoy. My leadership efforts include a healthy dose of helping others recognize their great value and contribution to society. I’ve participated actively in our local board meetings, listening, learning and contributing as I can. I’m running because I deeply love Stansbury. We have been greatly blessed while living here and it would be a great honor to give back in this manner.

2. Once elected what are your top three priorities and what do you want to do about them?

George Cannon: If elected, I would like to: 1.) Ensure that the taxpayer property tax funds are being spent wisely, and would conduct a mini-audit of the service agency finances to understand how all the funds are spent; 2.) help in the development of a master plan, which I believe does not exist today, to ensure that we are prioritizing the current and future spending where the greatest needs and opportunities exist for enhancing our beautiful community; and 3.) I will ensure that the input of community members is incorporated in our parks and green belts, by soliciting feedback from local home owners and families on how we can make our community ever better.

Gary Jensen: Stansbury Park has many areas that qualify as priorities. Continuing being fiscally responsible is definitely one. No debt benefits all residents and pay as you go is paramount. We, the board, have accomplished that. It’s a great feeling. We have listened to the public comments and earnestly use those to weigh in our decisions. We are their board. The continued beautification and improvement of our lakes, parks, and their management is at the top of the list as well.

Brenda Spearman: First, I would like to see a strong, detailed three- to 10-year master plan that will be used to drive decisions and work to help instill confidence in the service agency. The master plan would include current and proposed parks, a trail system, improvements to current facilities, lake upkeep and improvement, and proposed facilities. Second, I would like to see a high level of customer service and transparency where best practices are being implemented and everyone, resident and non-resident, feels respected and listened to. Where all sides are being considered and we are working together as a community to continue to have a beautiful, safe and amazing place to live. Third, I would like to see better communication between the agency and the community. This would include a social media presence, a maintained and updated website, standardized emails for board members and better signage in the parks and at the lake front.

Aaron Spilker: My priorities would be first to establish credibility as a member of the board by actively listening, learning and serving. I don’t believe for a minute that I have all the answers, so my initial focus will be to learn from the community and board, what their most important priorities are. I often tell new hires that I simply want them to be a sponge for the first several weeks. The minute they believe they know it all is the minute they will begin to fail. I plan to be a sponge, listen, and then respond appropriately to community needs, priorities and expectations. The needs of the community will be foremost in my perspective. Another priority is to participate actively in the selection and proper oversight of our new general manager. I will work with the board to establish a good plan for communication and management as we work together to foster, and in some cases re-establish, the confidence of Stansbury Park residents. I am equally committed to the beauty of our lakes, parks and public spaces, public safety and access, our master plan, etc. We have wonderful resources, and they need to be cared for passionately.

3. Why are you the best choice?

George Cannon: With 35 years of business experience, and a strong certified financial professional background, I can help the Stansbury community get the most value from the precious tax dollars which are allocated to us by Tooele County, to ensure that Stansbury remains a beautiful oasis and wonderful family friendly community for all residents.

Gary Jensen: The board of trustees has six positions and each brings unique qualities to the table. Their perspective, vision, and experience helps make judicious and good decisions. I am not afraid to ‘see a need, fill a need’ — from the movie “ROBOT.”One person does not know it all. Other angles help make better decisions. I work well with other people and believe that ability and willingness is and will be a positive influence on the SSA board of trustees. I look forward to continue serving the great community and good people of Stansbury Park. Thank you for your trust and support.

Brenda Spearman: With the growth we are having in our community we need to change and evolve and offer the services and amenities that our growing community would like to have. I am open to listening to community members and to work together to bring about the change needed to keep up with what is needed. I will use my knowledge, training and skills to assist the service agency and the community to fulfill its greatest potential. I am excited to serve the residents of Stansbury Park in a new capacity and will work to help us keep the wonderful way of life we are so blessed to be a part of.

Aaron Spilker: Each candidate for the board has a wealth of experience. I appreciate anyone willing to throw their hat into the ring. It’s no secret that the political climate is a little tense in our country right now. It can be scary to get involved. Nonetheless, I am committed to the process and believe it is my responsibility to serve. I’m at a stage where I’ve lived awhile. I’ve gained perspective that only comes from life experience, but I will never be so convinced that I’m right, that I won’t listen to the perspective of others. It would be a great honor to use these experiences as a guide for good decision making in the public forum. I’d appreciate your consideration.

Stansbury Recreation Service Agency

1. Tell us about yourself, your education, your work experience, public involvement, why you are running for office, anything else about yourself that you think is relevant.

Cassandra Arnell: I’m proud to call Stansbury my home. I love my neighborhood community. Currently, we seem to be at a pivotal point with our identity, attitudes and policies. I’d like to participate meaningfully in these discussions and decisions. Originally from Grantsville, I graduated from Southern Utah University in accounting and economics and earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Utah. I worked for the U.S. Joint Economic Committee in Washington, D.C. and practiced law with Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago, Illinois, before making my way back to Stansbury. Now, I run a seasonal swim school and manage a few real estate projects. I also have a history of service in several areas including: youth immigration, judicial accountability, expungement and domestic violence.

Michael Johnson:  My wife Amy and I and our family have lived in Stansbury Park for over seven years. I have been a trustee for the service agency for the last four years. I am seeking to be re-elected as a trustee for another four-year term, and would ask for your vote. I am a lawyer by trade, and currently am a partner in the Salt Lake City law firm of Ray Quinney & Nebeker. I have practiced law for the last 23 years. I recently completed a three-year term as the president of the Stansbury Ute Conference football league, and I currently serve on the state executive board for the Ute Conference. Prior to moving to Stansbury, I served for 12 years on the Tooele City Council, including a number of years as its chairman.

Robert Norman: I have been a resident of Stansbury Park for the past 11 years. I received both my bachelor’s degree in finance and MBA from Utah State University.  For the past 11 years, I have been employed by a government contractor. My role has been as a contracts administrator and financial analyst. Currently, I am the finance manager of one of the divisions. Shortly after moving to Stansbury, my desire to be involved in the community led me to get involved in the newly formed Stansbury Soccer Club. For the past nine years, I have volunteered as a member of the board, with a majority of those years serving as the recreation director of the club.

2. Once elected what are your top three priorities and what do you want to do about them?

Cassandra Arnell: If elected, my top three priorities would be improving communication, developing a master plan, and  enhancing lake health. First, a good two-way flow of information will result in increased unity and stronger relationships among residents, organizations, government entities and businesses. What’s more, it will contribute to improved decision-making. When communication channels are improved, we can better focus on issues such as master planning — finding consensus regarding our priorities for creating and improving parks, trails and more. As a former high school and collegiate athlete, and as a parent of young children, I understand the importance of having adequate facilities for athletes and families. With a strong, yet flexible master plan in hand, we can get to work making our dream community a reality. Finally, we should improve our approach to caring for our unique jewel of a lake. I’m the only candidate on either side of the service agency ballot who lives on the lake. I see it every day and my family spends countless hours in the water and on the ice. Our approach to our lake’s health should be empirical, with appropriate testing and proactive interventions.

Michael Johnson: The service agency is a special district with a limited budget but with an important mission — providing parks, recreational opportunities, open space and related services to the residents of Stansbury Park. If re-elected, my top three priorities will be: First, we need to hire a new general manager to oversee the agency and make sure we are fulfilling our mission and that all of our employees are “rowing the boat” in the same direction. Second, we need to update our master plan to reflect our current reality. Stansbury Park has experienced tremendous growth the last few years. We don’t have enough developed park space to serve the needs of our growing population. Our pool and our other facilities are aging and will need to be replaced in the relatively near future. We need to figure out when we will make these capital improvements, and how we are going to pay for them. Third, we need to figure out a way to fund and complete the state Route 138 underpass project so we can link Stansbury Park together. This will not only help with our sense of community and provide an additional trail system, but also will greatly improve safety for those needing to cross the highway.

Robert Norman: Stansbury Park is truly a unique community offering opportunities with our community boundaries that benefit families and individuals across all demographics. With the tremendous growth, we are at a pivotal time in building the future of our community. The service agency needs to pursue a master plan. My vision for the plan is striking a balance of: maintaining our beautiful community that established residents have enjoyed since the inception of Stansbury, such as the lake and current parks; planning for growth that will meet the needs of the increasing number of young families; and keeping a community plan that will still keep the small town feel but allowing new opportunity. With the growth and development, funding for the needed projects will be difficult. It will become ever more important that we seek funding outside of local fees/taxes to be able to pursue these efforts. I would like to make it a priority to build stronger relationships with the county and state to ensure cooperative development/additional funding, as well as to ensure that we continue to pursue any available grant money.

3. Why are you the best choice?

Cassandra Arnell: I think my interests align well with those of many Stansburians. I want this community to be a beautiful walkable/bikeable place to raise children, to recreate from teenage years through adulthood, and to grow older with ease and grace. Further, I’m eager to understand all perspectives. Finally, my background in law, property management, sports and service yields practical knowledge and skills applicable to aiding decision-making and achieving objectives.

Michael Johnson: I have over 16 years of experience serving as an elected public official in Tooele County. That includes four years as a service agency trustee. I also have the training as a practicing lawyer to do a good job for our residents. Finally, and most importantly, I love Stansbury Park and all the community has to offer. It is a wonderful place to live with amenities that simply cannot be found anywhere else in Tooele County. The rampant growth we have seen in Stansbury Park is evidence of its desirability. That growth, however, presents ever increasing challenges for the service agency to deliver the same or better services in an efficient and cost effective manner. Hopefully the residents of Stansbury have been happy with what has been happening in the “Park” the last few years, such as the lake shoreline project and the new waterfall features.

Robert Norman: All of this year’s candidates are good individuals, and we all have one thing in common: a willingness to serve our community. In this election year, it is great to be in a situation where we have outstanding candidates. That being said, if elected, I will do my best to fulfill my responsibilities as a member of the service agency. I feel a sense of ownership in this community, and despite the results of the election, I will support our service agency board by continuing to do my part in building this community. It is imperative that we all work together to make a future for our community that will allow us to continue to be proud of Stansbury Park.

Voter information: Vote-by-mail ballots for the Nov. 7 election were scheduled to arrive in mailboxes on Oct. 23, according to Tooele County Clerk/Auditor Marilyn Gillette. Voters who are expecting a vote-by-mail ballot and haven’t received one are asked to contact Gillette at 435-843-3140.

Early voting for the Nov. 7 election started Oct. 24 at the Tooele County Clerk/Auditor’s office at 47 S. Main Street in room 318. Early voting at the clerk’s office will continue through Nov. 3.

Hours for early voting there are from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., except for on Nov. 3 when early voting will close at 5 p.m.

There will also be opportunities for early voting on Nov. 1 at the Tooele Senior Center from 9 a.m. until noon.

On Nov. 7, polling locations will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. at the Tooele County Building Auditorium at 47 S. Main Street in Tooele City; the Tooele National Guard Armory at 16 S. First Street in Tooele City; Middle Canyon Elementary School at 751 E. 1000 North in Tooele City; Overlake Elementary School at 2052 N. 170 West in Tooele City; the Dow James Building at 350 W. 400 North in Tooele City; and the Grantsville Fire Station at 26 N. Center Street in Grantsville.

Although all of Stansbury Park now votes by mail, there will be a polling location open at Stansbury High School on Nov. 7.

Any Tooele County voter may vote at any of the polling locations.

Voters who received a ballot by mail may vote in person on Nov. 7 by turning in their vote-by-mail ballot at the polling location where they vote. If they do not have their vote-by-mail ballot, voters may be allowed to vote in person by casting a provisional ballot so the clerk can make sure a vote-by-mail ballot is not also counted for that voter.

Vote-by-mail ballots must be posted marked no later than Nov. 6 to be valid. They may also be turned in at a polling location on Nov. 7.

For additional information or questions regarding the election process, contact Gillette at 435-843-3140.

Tim Gillie

Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Tim has been writing for the Transcript Bulletin since October 2017. In February 2019 he was named as editor. In addition to being editor, Tim continues to write about Tooele County government, education, business, real estate, housing, politics and the state Legislature.A native of Washington state and a graduate of Central Washington University, Tim became a journalist after a 20 year career with the Boy Scouts of America.

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