Diane Foster was appointed the Park City manager on Thursday night, a crowning achievement for a City Hall staffer who quickly rose through the ranks at the Marsac Building.
Foster, wearing an orange-colored paper crown and a white ribbon sash during part of the Park City Council meeting, won the appointment on a unanimous vote by the City Council. She received a standing ovation from the people in the crowd. Mayor Dana Williams and the City Council were visibly pleased with the selection of Foster. City Councilman Alex Butwinski, sitting next to the new city manager, congratulated Foster with a celebratory fist bump.
"No more interim," Williams said as the City Council prepared to cast the two votes needed to formalize the appointment.
Foster had been the interim city manager since late August, taking on the interim role after Tom Bakaly, the city manager who preceded her, left to become the top staffer in Hermosa Beach, Calif.
Foster is 49 years old and lives in Wanship. She arrived at City Hall in 2008 and rose through the ranks of the municipal government. Foster served as the environmental sustainability manager at the outset before a promotion to deputy city manager
In the environmental position, Foster oversaw City Hall's wide-ranging green efforts. As the deputy city manager, Foster held wide-ranging duties. Among the most prominent was representing City Hall at the Statehouse.
Foster, meanwhile, has a private sector background complementing her time at City Hall. She spent time at American Skiing Company and backcountry.com as well as working in the high tech sector. She has a master's degree in business administration from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom and is a student in University of Utah master's program in public administration. She also is a KPCW disc jockey. Her co-hosts at the radio station gave her the crown and sash on Thursday night.
The City Council votes on Thursday were in favor of Foster's appointment and an employment agreement with her. Her salary is set at $128,083.45 per year with the possibility of bonuses. She was given a car allowance of $490 per month. She was granted 15 days of vacation annually plus one floating holiday. Her wider benefit package -- including health and dental insurance, life insurance, deferred compensation and retirement benefits -- parallels those provided to other full-time City Hall staffers.
Foster may be dismissed at any time, according to the employment agreement. It outlines her eligibility for separation pay if she is fired. The separation pay would be based on the length of time she serves in the position.
The votes on Thursday were expected. The mayor on Monday announced her selection as city manager in a prepared statement. There appeared to be widespread support through the week for her selection within the municipal ranks.
In an interview early in the week, Foster said she does not plan to make significant changes to the City Hall structure and said the culture of the municipal government will not be altered. She said her hiring reflected well on the City Hall team. She said the elected officials would have selected someone from outside the organization if they had wanted a different direction.
Foster said in the interview City Hall in coming months will be handling issues like long-range plans for the lower Park Avenue corridor, the future of the Rocky Mountain Power site in Bonanza Park and an expansive rewriting of City Hall's General Plan, a document that guides growth in the city. The annual budget talks will start shortly as well.
The search for a successor to Bakaly took much longer than Williams and the City Council had anticipated. A national recruitment was conducted last fall and early in the winter. More than 90 people submitted applications, but the elected officials opted not to hire any of them. Foster did not apply at that point.
The mayor and City Council in recent weeks conducted an internal recruitment, saying one would cut the potential of delay and be less expensive than a second national one. An undisclosed number of staffers applied for the position. Closed-door interviews were held early in March. The names of the others who competed for the position were not released.