Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

August 10, 2021
So what is it — full-time or part-time mayor?

I am really disappointed in the Grantsville City Council, people who are supposed to be our City Leaders.  

Two years ago, I stood before the Council requesting they return the Grantsville City Mayor position to a part-time position as it was when Mayor Marshall was first elected plus hire a qualified city manager with city planning experience.  

I chose this timing as I knew it would not be a quick “flip of the switch,” last minute conversion process and with a new mayoral election in two years timing was good. Some on the Council indicated they also thought it a good idea — now I’m not so sure.  

A little over a year ago, I posted an opinion poll on the Grantsville 411- Utah Facebook page: Should we remain status quo or hire a city manager. Only a small number of residents responded to my very unscientific poll. However, of the respondents, only 7% wanted the status quo, while 93% wanted the change.  

I heard nothing publicly regarding the Mayor’s position nor the hiring of a city manager until the May 19, 2021 City Council meeting when the Council discussed hiring a city manager — no decision as it was only a discussion topic.  

At the June 2, 2021 City Council meeting, two months prior to the primary election and just before the cut off for residents to declare their candidacy, Ordinance 2021-30 was discussed to amend Grantsville City Code 2-6-1 “providing that the Grantsville City Mayor shall be a part-time employee and abrogating any requirement to serve as a full-time employee”. 

From that discussion it appeared the Council was in the beginning stages of the process, a process that deserves more than a flippant overnight, knee jerk reaction. The City HR manager was asked to answer questions for which the Council had not provided him with enough information to properly advise them — questions that should have been answered months ago. The decision was tabled. To have started so late in the election season to begin serious public discussion of a change of this nature, is sending a message to some of us that our City leaders only want to give lip service to the idea. If that’s the case, why even bring it up, unless they have heard other residents (like I have) express an opinion similar to mine and just want us all to think they care.  

The primary election closes Aug. 10 and I don’t really know how to cast my vote for the position of mayor. Thankfully it’s only a primary and not the final election. However, a primary that determines who is actually going to be on the ballot is as important to a fair election process as the final election. Grantsville City residents are at a loss for being able to cast our responsibly informed vote because the Council hasn’t done their job by deciding long before now if they will change the mayor position and if so what the duties will be. If the Council doesn’t make a decision, the new mayor will be elected for a four-year term. Then if the Council decides to hire a full-time city manager, we will either end up with a full-time mayor with little to nothing to do or we will find ourselves in a constant battle between who has the ultimate authority to run our city — the elected mayor or the newly hired city manager.  A competent city manager who takes pride in doing their job effectively, won’t last long in a dual encumbered manager position, or is that the ultimate goal to all of this; proving that it would be senseless to hire a fully trained city manager to manage our rapidly growing city.

In addition, if the Council ultimately decides to return the mayor position to part-time without officially having informed the residents of Grantsville that they have even been considering the option, they have in effect restricted the potential number of candidates for that position. There may have been some residents who would have “thrown their hat into the ring” had they known of the potential change ahead of time. And please don’t try throwing back at me what I’ve already been told that all residents should know that the Council is considering changing the mayor position, because they don’t. Not all residents read the City Council agenda. I’m not even sure if all residents receive the agendas.  

As citizens, it is our responsibility and privilege to cast our votes for the person(s) we feel will best fulfill the duties of the position for which they are running. By not knowing what the duties are going to be for our next mayor, none of us can truly cast our votes responsibly as none of us know what the next mayor’s duties will be. By not making the decision, the Council has denied all residents the ability to cast a knowledgeable, responsible vote.  While this is not true voter suppression it comes very close. They are not stopping me from voting, just stopping me from being able to responsibly vote for the person I feel would best perform the duties of the position. Just as they often do when they give the residents the opportunity to express their opinions during a public hearing where they don’t tell us what the public hearing issue really is beyond providing a title, the Council is now asking us all to cast our votes to fill a position for which they haven’t told us what it will be. Our City leaders took an oath to represent the residents of our city when they took office, not to ignore us and leave us in the dark.  

Debbie Spilman

Grantsville City

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