Chatter starts in county contest |

Chatter starts in county contest

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

Western Summit County resident Claudia McMullin says she is considering running in November for a seat on the new five-person Summit County Council.

"I’m very seriously considering running, but I haven’t made a formal announcement," McMullin said in a telephone interview Thursday. "I’m considering for a number of reasons I feel that my time on the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission has been a good prep for taking that next step."

Along with her Planning Commission duties, McMullin works as an attorney in Park City.

"I have the skill set to do an effective job," she said. "It’s an exciting and challenging time to be on the County Council, with the change of form of governance."

Voters chose to change the three-person Summit County Commission to a five-member board with a hired executive in a hotly contested referendum race in 2006. Voters will pick the first council members this year.

"I want to say, I was more on the fence about it. I could have gone either way," McMullin said about the change. "I feel like the County Commission does a great job, but I also see how city councils and city managers work. I think they’re very effective and I definitely agree with the concept of separating administrative from legislative functions."

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Before deciding to run, McMullin said she will brush up on issues not related to planning, including waste disposal and water importation.

"I really get planning issues, but there are so many more issues that face the county," she said.

Meanwhile, freshman County Commissioner Sally Elliott, a Park City Democrat, declared that she will also campaign for a seat on the Summit County Council.

"I have said that I would run again from the time that I was elected in 2004, because from my past experience in government, I know that the wheels of government grind very slowly," Elliott said. "I have a number of projects that I’m working on that won’t be complete by the time my term has ended."

Helping to facilitate deed-restricted affordable housing tops her priority list, Elliott explained.

She also said she "would like to see some significant strides made in increasing our recycling efforts, reusing some of our solid waste."

In a telephone interview Thursday, Elliott said she is involved with several projects involving undisclosed property acquisitions.

"I think that the seated County Commission has worked very effectively with our very talented staff to accomplish a number of studies and efforts that will see us 30 and 40 years into the future," she said. "I feel like I have been an important part of that."

Helping oversee a smooth transition to a council/manager form of government drives her desire to run, Elliott said.

It was unclear this week who else might vie for elected office in a year expected to see its share of political fireworks in the county.

Democratic Summit County Commissioner Ken Woolstenhulme, of Oakley, insists he will not seek another term.

Incumbent Bob Richer, a Democrat from Ranch Place, has so far been undecided.

"I’ve been out trying to recruit candidates, and I do know that there are a number of very, very highly qualified people who are thinking of filing," Elliott said.

The filing window to run for office is open March 7-17.

For more information, call Summit County Clerk Kent Jones. From the West Side his number is 615-3203. From North Summit, the number is 336-3203. People in South Summit can call 783-4451, extension 3203. Additional information is available on the County Clerk’s section of Summit County’s Web site,