Mayor keeps his political plans guarded
Ryan Summerlin December 31, 2012
Mayor Dana Williams as New Year’s approached declined to discuss his political plans, saying he would not talk about whether he would seek re-election in November.
Williams said he was not willing to discuss the election months before there is expected to be candidate action. He did not indicate whether he has made his decision and did not want to make it public or whether he has not decided.
Williams said decisions could be second guessed if he declared himself a candidate early. He did not speak at length about the upcoming election.
"I think it’s inappropriate to talk about it this early," the mayor said.
Williams is entering the final year of his third term, having won elections in 2001, 2005 and 2009. The 2001 and 2009 elections were especially contentious. He was unopposed in 2005. The 2001 campaign season unfolded in the two months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and as the 2002 Winter Olympics approached. The election in 2009, meanwhile, was held amid the challenges of the recession.
Nobody has said publicly they will seek the mayor’s office. If Williams does not run for re-election, there would likely be wider interest in a campaign since an incumbent with proven popularity would not be on the ballot.
If more than two people file paperwork to seek the mayor’s office, a primary would be held to reduce the field to two candidates. The window when candidates are allowed to formalize their campaigns is in June. Candidates oftentimes announce their intention to run prior to the window opening.
The Park City Council seats held by Cindy Matsumoto and Alex Butwinski will also be on the ballot in November. City Councilors Liza Simpson, Andy Beerman and Dick Peek are not up for re-election again until 2015.
In an interview, Matsumoto said she intends to seek re-election at the moment. She said she would tout successes in improvements to Old Town and City Hall’s conservation program as accomplishments. Matsumoto is a first-term City Councilor.
"It’s been a privilege and extremely satisfying to represent the people of Park City," Matsumoto said.
Butwinski said he has not considered the campaign and probably will not begin to do so until the spring. Butwinski is in his first term.
More than four people would need to file campaign papers to force a primary in the City Council contest.
In the coming months, before the election officially begins, the mayor and City Council are expected to handle a series of high-profile issues and decisions.
It seems likely a city manager will be hired sometime in the spring, following a second recruitment to find a successor to former City Manager Tom Bakaly. The elected officials, meanwhile, are expected to continue discussions about a diverse set of high-profile topics like the future of the Sundance Film Festival, the Bonanza Park redevelopment and Main Street. They will also be crafting a City Hall budget for the next fiscal year before the election begins.