Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

June 13, 2017
Some say 3-member county commission not big enough

Government study committee holds round two of public input meeting at county health department 

Maybe Tooele County needs more commissioners.

That’s one of the messages the Tooele County Government Study Committee heard from a handful of residents who showed up to Thursday’s public input meeting at the Tooele County Health Department.

“Our commissioners are not able to do everything that needs to be done when it needs to be done,” said Ray Dixon, Tooele City resident. “We need more commissioners to cut their jobs down.”

One of the alternatives to the current three-member commission form of county government is an expanded county commission with five to seven commissioners.

Under the expanded commission form of government, the commissioners retain both legislative and executive power.

The group at Thursday’s meeting discussed the possibility of adding commissioners, but reducing the workload and pay to part-time status. Also mentioned was electing the commissioners by districts instead of at-large.

“I don’t feel represented at all,” said Erda resident Gerald Larrivee.

Charlie Roberts, former Tooele City mayor who now lives in Stansbury Park, said he favors a five-member council with a hired manager.

“The three member commission worked until about 1970, back when the county didn’t have a lot to do,” Roberts said. “I favor a change in government.”

Roberts suggested a five-member council with a hired county executive.

“Five is the right size, get any larger than that and you have problems,” he said.

Along with the three, five, or seven member commission forms of county government, the state Legislature has also approved two forms of county government that separate the legislative and executive government authority with either an elected executive or an appointed manager.

Under the county executive-council and council-manager forms of government, the council serves as the legislative authority, with the executive function performed by either a county manager or executive.

The county council appoints a county manager, while a county executive is an elected position.

Kami Perkins, Tooele City Human Resources director, who said she was speaking for herself as a county resident and not for Tooele City, said her research indicates the county could change to a part-time, five-member commission with a hired manager for no more than what the county is currently paying for the three-member county commission if the five part-time commissioners are not provided with health insurance benefits and the salary was set similar to other part-time elected officials in the valley.

The ballot proposition to create the county government study committee passed in the Nov. 2016 election with 65 percent of the vote.

The study committee must issue a written report on or before February 2018 with a recommendation on whether or not the county’s current three-member commission form of government should be retained or changed to a different form.

The public can send email comments to the study committee at studycommittee@tooeleco.org, according to Richard Mitchell, study committee chairman.

The study committee meets on Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. at the Tooele County Health Department.

The study committee expects to announce additional public input meetings for the Stockton, Rush Valley, Vernon, Erda and Stansbury Park areas.

Tim Gillie

Staff Writer at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Tim covers education, Tooele City government, business, real estate, politics and the state Legislature. He became a journalist after a long career as an executive with the Boy Scouts of America. Tim is a native of Washington state and a graduate of Central Washington University.

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