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Corradini: government change is key

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

Former Salt Lake City Mayor turned Parkite Deedee Corradini wants citizens to vote to change the form of government in Summit County when they step into polling booths Nov. 7.

One question on the ballot will ask voters whether the current three-member Summit County Commission should change to a five-member council with an appointed manager.

"With a change in the form, Summit County commissioners can do that much better and the county will be that much better off," Corradini said.

Twice before in the 1980s and ’90s proposals to change the form of government have died.

But for the first time this year voters will decide, said Corradini, who has signed on as co-chair for Summit Steps Forward, a political committee the supports changing the form of government.

Corradini, a Democrat, and local Olympian Jim Shea Jr., a Republican, oversee the committee that is trying to influence citizens to vote on Election Day to change the form of government in Summit County.

"This is a nonpartisan, bipartisan effort," Corradini said in an interview Monday. "It has nothing to do with Republicans or Democrats."

In 2004, more than 60 percent of Summit County’s electorate supported studying whether the three-person commission should be scrapped. Having examined the issue for about a year, a seven-member committee, with a 5-2 vote, recommended the council/manger form of government for Summit County.

Meanwhile, Summit Steps Forward has already squared off against Less is Best, a group against changing the form of government.

Though only a handful of counties have deviated from the traditional three-member commission, Corradini insists, "We’re ready for a professional government."

"It’s been eons ago that that was formed and it was when places were totally rural when [the three-member commission] came into being," Corradini said.

Three commissioners currently oversee Summit County’s executive and legislative branches of government, she lamented.

"I have a serious problem with having the same people that make the laws, administering the laws," Corradini said. "You need checks and balances."

The manager, with a six-figure salary, will likely become the county’s highest paid employee, which Corradini says is money well spent.

"You pay someone professional who can find [inefficiencies] and they more than pay for themselves," she said.

Summit County employees afraid that hiring a manager would impact their jobs in the County Courthouse have perhaps criticized the council/manager plan the most, Corradini said.

"They don’t want to lose power, they don’t want to lose their job," she said.

But the manager wouldn’t have enough to do only overseeing rank-and-file workers not supervised by the county’s 10 elected officials, Summit County Democratic Party chair Robert Weyher said.

Weyher has contributed money to Less is Best. The group is opposed to the change and recently raised eyebrows in the Snyderville Basin by posting signs that attack Democratic County Commissioner Bob Richer as a bloated, cigarette-smoking supporter of "big government." Richer and County Commissioner Sally Elliott are vocal proponents of changing the form of government in the county.

Democratic County Commissioner Ken Woolstenhulme is against the change.

But Corradini, who has lived in Park City for two years, insists five legislators instead of three would decrease the potential for two commissioners to engage in backroom deals at the expense of taxpayers.

"Imagine you’re one of three commissioners and you have a pet project. You lobby whoever you think you can get of the other two," she said, adding, "Two people can have a tremendous amount of power and I think power needs to be more diversified."

But Mike Marty, a member of Less is Best, says local celebrities like Corradini and Shea won’t mask from taxpayers the cost to change the form of government.

"It doesn’t change the basic nature that a change in county government is going to add another layer of government and take it out of the hands of the people," Marty said. "I have never found that putting a celebrity’s face and/or name in front of a product ever caused any increase in sales."


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