County Council candidate claims experience sets her apart
October 7, 2008
Claudia McMullin explained why she left her career as a corporate lawyer in New York City for small-town life in an interview this week at her Silver Springs home.
"I chose lifestyle," the Snyderville Basin Democrat said in interview Thursday.
McMullin credits "an epiphany on a chairlift in 1997" for luring her to Summit County two years later. Now the relative newcomer is taking on a lifelong resident of eastern Summit County in a County Council race that may epitomize the stark differences between the East and West sides.
"I decided that I didn’t want to be a partner in a Wall Street law firm and I was on the cusp of that," McMullin said.
She is one of 11 at-large candidates campaigning for five four- and two-year seats on the Summit County Council. McMullin touts her four years of experience on the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission as why she is the most qualified person in the race.
"Some of the most complex and interesting issues that will face this County Council are going to remain land-use issues and that’s where I am uniquely qualified for the job. Where these issues are going to be most immediate is in North and South Summit," McMullin said. "The citizens who are attending these meetings are very unhappy with the current East Side development code."
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Farmers and ranchers struggling to stay in business are eager to sell their property to real-estate developers, she said.
"They want to basically subdivide their property in a way that is currently prohibited under the code," McMullin said. "The concerns are from ranchers and farmers who can’t make a living any longer and their children don’t want to do it."
She acknowledged the zoning codes in eastern Summit County are "very restrictive."
"I don’t hear proposed solutions, I just hear frustration and anger and dissatisfaction with the current restrictive nature of the East Side development code," McMullin said.
But she understands "the importance on controlling and managing intelligently growth," McMullin stressed.
"That’s going to benefit the community as a whole," she said.
A majority of voters chose to replace the more traditional three-member Summit County Commission with the new council/manager form of government in 2006.
"My skills as a planning commissioner are needed on the new County Council," McMullin said. "I understand the distinction between legislative and administrative acts."
She hopes to conduct a nationwide search for the right applicant for the county manager post.
"I totally understand the potential benefits of having a manager to do the day-to-day decision making and leaving it up to the elected body to do the long-range planning and create law," McMullin said. "Our number one challenge is going to be finding the very best county manger we can."
She said that the upcoming Summit County Council election has people confused about which candidates they can vote for.
"They can vote for all five candidates and each candidate only has one opponent or two," McMullin said. "There is no districting, it’s at large and the whole county gets to vote for all five of them."