Mayor loses high-level real estate job | ParkRecord.com

Mayor loses high-level real estate job

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Managers at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage recently requested Mayor Dana Williams relinquish a high-level job with the real estate firm, telling the mayor his City Hall responsibilities do not leave enough time for his assignment with Coldwell Banker.

Williams had been the managing broker of Coldwell Banker’s Park City office. In that capacity Williams handled the day-to-day operations of the office, including training agents. He was the managing broker for 18 months after spending almost 19 years with Coldwell Banker as a real estate agent.

The mayor remains an agent with Coldwell Banker, but his compensation status was changed from salary to commissions, which is typically how real estate agents earn money. Williams said midweek he has eight listings. He said his sales dropped after he became the mayor.

Williams, who is 53 years old and in his second term as mayor, said Coldwell Banker’s Utah leadership told him they preferred the managing broker in Park City work more hours each week in the firm’s offices. They then asked him to step down as the managing broker.

"They decided that my passion was more in my other job, in my community-service job. That took too much time away from being the broker for them," Williams said, acknowledging Coldwell Banker’s decision was a surprise to him.

The move comes as the Park City area suffers a slump in housing sales after months of dodging a national downturn. The local drop has not been as pronounced as it has been elsewhere, and national trends such as problem mortgages have not struck Park City as they have in other places.

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But there are worries in the local real estate industry, even as Park City bills itself as one of North America’s elite mountain resorts and a place where homebuyers can find good deals compared to competitors like Aspen, Colo., Jackson, Wyo., and Sun Valley, Idaho.

If Park City was enjoying a robust real estate market, the mayor said, Coldwell Banker management might not have been seeking someone else for the position.

Voters overwhelmingly elected Williams in 2001, and he was unopposed when he won re-election four years later. The mayor’s office is next on the ballot in 2009. Williams has not indicated whether he would seek re-election to a third term, and he did not discuss this week whether losing the managing broker job will influence his re-election decision.

Williams and Park City Councilors have long said their City Hall workload has grown, with the mayor this week saying he spends at least 30 hours each week on his government duties.

"It’s extremely difficult for anyone to juggle a full-time job and be the mayor," Williams said.

As mayor, Williams earns $22,556 per year, is eligible for $11,628 in health and dental insurance and has a $3,000 car allowance.

Williams also performs in Motherlode Canyon Band, a popular group on the Park City circuit.

The mayor said he is seeking a job outside of real estate, and he wants to find work in an environmental field such as conservation or clean-burning fuels. During his administration, Williams has made environmentalism, sometimes known as sustainability, a hallmark of his office.

Coldwell Banker installed Chris Jensen as the managing broker in Park City.

Dan Christensen, the president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Utah, praised Williams as doing a "fantastic job" as mayor. But Christensen said the mayor’s office became a time-consuming job for Williams, with the mayor holding "essentially two full-time jobs."

"As the city’s grown, that’s taken on more and more time commitment for him," Christensen said about the mayor’s office. "It just wasn’t working. One or the other was being slighted."

Christensen said Coldwell Banker sales in Park City are down in 2008 from the same period in 2007. The decision to replace Williams, described by Christensen as a "solid agent," was not exclusively based on the year-over-year numbers, Christensen said, describing Coldwell Banker’s desire for the managing broker to spend more time on the job.

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