In the last Tooele County Commission meeting on Dec. 3, the commissioners postponed combining the Tooele County Clerk (Marilyn Gillette) and Tooele County Auditor (Mike Jensen) offices.
There was no public hearing held to discuss the item, and the citizens there asked for numbers to see how much money the move would save. Here are some of the answers, along with the items discussed:
1. All of the second-class counties, which the commissioners are comparing Tooele County to, have staffs of 18-20 people in their clerk/auditor’s office. Currently the clerk and auditor offices here have eight people between the two.
2. Currently none of the third-class counties in Utah have combined offices (Tooele County is a third-class county in size).
3. To gather information, I sent a survey to the clerks and auditors in Utah, asking how the combined office worked for them. Most of them said because the clerk functions are so demanding, the auditor functions take a back seat. In Tooele County’s situation, both offices need to be able to function at full capacity. (For specific quotes, please contact me at 435-843-3148 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
4. The clerk and auditor functions have no correlation. They are both busy at the same time. While the auditor is holding the tax sale, sending out property valuation notices and holding board of equalization hearings, the clerk’s office is sending and receiving vote by mail ballots, vote by mail applications, conducting and helping with early voting, and conducting special voting sessions for senior citizens at the Tooele and Grantsville Senior Centers.
5. Combining offices will eliminate one elected official’s salary, which averages $76,000. The eliminated person will need to be replaced. The chief deputy finance and chief deputy clerk salary in Davis County is $92,000 (each). The chief deputy’s salary in Weber County is $82,742. This does not include the liability insurance, risk management, records manager or business license directors, only the chief deputy. Where are the money savings?
6. Combining offices would get rid of the checks and balances that exist when the offices are separate. In those counties where the offices are combined, they function as two separate offices. Most have the elected official, auditor, clerk, election director, two chief deputies and support staff. Again, where are the savings?
So, I am asking you to please write a letter to the commissioners (email is fine) letting them know what you, as a citizen and a voter, think they should do. I realize some of you may think the offices should be combined. Now that you have the information that was requested/discussed in the last meeting, you will be able to make an informed decision. Commissioner Bruce Clegg’s email is email@example.com; Commissioner Jerry Hurst’s is firstname.lastname@example.org; and Commissioner Shawn Milne’s is email@example.com.
Marilyn K. Gillette is the Tooele County Clerk